Hartford Aggressive Driving Accident Lawyer

An aggressive driver yelling at another road user in front of him and risking an accident.“Drive defensively” is one of the first things registered drivers are taught when learning the rules of the road. Despite this, aggressive driving continues to plague just about every state, with Connecticut being no exception.

In fact, Connecticut ranks among the worst states for aggressive behaviors on the road. According to Forbes, 71.5% of drivers in the state have been tailgated, and 20.5% have experienced being outright forced off the road.

When these behaviors lead to accidents and injuries in Hartford, your best bet for compensation is an aggressive driving lawyer.

What Services Does a Hartford Aggressive Driving Attorney Provide?

As with most personal injury cases involving vehicles, aggressive driving accidents can quickly overwhelm victims, especially during the initial months after the event. Road accident victims often sustain serious injuries that get in the way of their daily lives, preventing them from tending to their work, their relationships, and even the process of recovery itself.

Aggressive driving attorneys ease these burdens experienced by their clients by taking on the challenge of the legal system on their part. They back their clients’ interests when facing at-fault parties and their representatives, ensuring fair compensation for the damages they incurred in the accident.

Here are some services you can take advantage of when you work with an aggressive driving attorney:

  • Case Consultation: A case consultation allows you to discuss the details of your accident with your lawyer and determine the potential for compensation. This session is often free, as your lawyer does not want you to risk any of the limited resources you might need during your recovery process.
  • Investigation and Evidence Gathering: Your insurance company will launch an investigation into the accident to attempt to piece together what happened and determine the distribution of fault. Unfortunately, this investigation might be biased toward the interests of the insurer, so your attorney will undertake their own investigation to ensure the evidence is gathered, documented, and interpreted fairly for all parties involved.
  • Negotiation and Settlement: When the time comes to sit down with the insurance provider, be it your own or that of another party, you may find that they are unwilling to even make an offer (and they might have a seemingly justifiable reason for this). Having a lawyer represent you means you have a skilled negotiator who can argue against this, and if they did make you an offer, they can make sure that all your damages are accounted for.
  • Escalation to a Trial: Sometimes, the threat of a lawsuit is necessary to get an at-fault party to make a fair offer. Not all cases make it to court, and the odds are that a settlement will be reached before then, but if you do have to make it to trial, your lawyer will prepare a solid case and fight for you all the way.

What Is Aggressive Driving?

When we talk about aggressive driving, we refer to behaviors behind the wheel of a vehicle that are dangerous, hostile, or, at the very least, intimidating to other road users. As the name implies, this is the opposite of defensive driving, which itself means anticipating and avoiding road hazards and accident risks.

Connecticut law does not define aggressive driving per se, though it is easily identifiable when on the road. Instead, the state addresses cases of aggressive driving through the Reckless Driving Law, CT Gen Stat § 14-222.

What this means is that while aggressive driving isn’t directly explained, actions that constitute aggressive driving – and thus fall under the broader spectrum of reckless driving – are considered aggressive and illegal.

Examples of Aggressive Driving

It’s commonly understood that aggressive driving includes any behavior a person in control of a vehicle actively engages in that increases the danger to others. The most common examples of aggressive driving are as follows:

  • Speeding: This means driving over recommended speed limits, or, as 14-222 dictates, 85 miles per hour. Speeding naturally leads to shorter windows of time for drivers to react to danger.
  • Tailgating: Just like speeding, tailgating reduces the amount of time a driver has to react to danger. Tailgating occurs when a driver follows behind another vehicle too closely, usually with the purpose of intimidating them to move faster or get out of the way.
  • Improper Lane Changes: When a driver maneuvers to change lanes without taking the appropriate precautions, an improper lane change occurs. This usually means the driver engages in an action (or inaction, as the case may be) that makes them a hazard or fails to consider any other hazards during a lane change.
      • Failure to Signal
      • Failure to Check Mirrors
      • Cutting off Other Vehicles
      • Failure to Check Traffic
      • Multiple Lane Crosses
  • Running Red Lights: Except when in an emergency situation or otherwise dictated to do so by authorities on the road, running a red light is, in almost all cases, illegal. Especially in crowded intersections, running a red light leads to the risk of T-bone and/or pedestrian accidents, and as the act is illegal, it almost always guarantees fault in an accident will primarily lie with the aggressive driver.
  • Rolling Stops: Similar to running a red light, a rolling stop increases the risk of accidents at intersections. This risk is greatest along pedestrian crossings, but also on throughways, and as such, is prohibited by CT Gen Stat § 14-301.
  • Erratic Driving: Whether caused by road rage, distracted driving, or other factors, driving erratically forces other drivers, as well as pedestrians, to take action to avoid a vehicle that should have been driving normally. Sometimes, evasive maneuvers can themselves lead to an accident, with the erratic driver at fault.
  • Excessive Honking: While not necessarily stated as illegal, incorrectly using the horn can endanger the life of other people by causing distractions or intimidating other drivers and potentially leading to road rage incidents. The specifics of the case will determine whether a car honking a horn qualifies as reckless driving under the law.
  • Rude Gestures and Verbal Confrontation: Activity that promotes aggressive behavior can qualify as reckless driving, and, in fact, if the activity – such as flipping off another driver or yelling at them – interferes with one’s duties as a driver, almost always counts as distracted driving under subparagraph (A), subdivision (4), subsection (f) of CT Gen Stat § 14-296aa, or the Distracted Driving Law.

Penalties for Aggressive Driving in Connecticut

Because an act of aggressive driving can fall under different statutes according to the law, the specific penalties for each act will vary depending on the circumstances. Generally speaking, however, most cases of aggressive driving can be penalized under the Reckless Driving Law.

Under the Reckless Driving Law, first-time offenders will be fined between 100 and 300 dollars, imprisoned for up to 30 days, or both imprisoned and fined to the same limits. These penalties increase for each subsequent offense, up to a maximum of a 600 dollar fine and a year in prison.

However, as mentioned above, some aggressive acts, such as rude gestures and honking, do not necessarily count as offenses under the Reckless Driving Law. This is because the said statute only prohibits driving a vehicle at dangerous speeds, driving with clutch or gears disengaged, or knowingly operating a vehicle with a defect, but the point is that not every possible situation is covered under this law.

As a result of this, such acts will commonly be penalized under other traffic laws, most often the Distracted Driving Law. Alternatively, acts of aggressive driving can be attributed to other illegal activities, such as a DUI, which allows the court to penalize for that instead.

If an act falls under distracted driving, the driver will be fined 200 dollars for the first offense, 375 for the second, and 625 for any violations after that. If an act is attributed to a DUI, penalties include both a fine and jail time.

If found guilty of a DUI, a driver will be fined between 500 and 1000 dollars for a first offense and be imprisoned for up to 6 months, the first two days of which cannot be suspended or reduced.

A second DUI violation within ten years from the first results in a fine of between 1000 and 4000 dollars. This also carries a maximum prison sentence of two years, the first 120 days of which cannot be suspended.

Third and subsequent violations of the law within ten years of the last result in a 2000 to 8000 dollar fine and a prison sentence of up to three years. The first full year of this sentence cannot be suspended.

In addition to these, drivers convicted of a DUI will also have their driver’s license suspended for 45 days (or permanently upon the third offense) and will be required to have an ignition interlock installed on any vehicles they drive upon restoration of driving privileges. A standard 100 hours of community service is also required as part of probation per offense, and if the courts deem it necessary, the driver will have to attend a treatment program for their substance abuse.

Bert McDowell Injury Law Is the Hartford Aggressive Driving Law Firm for You

When you need to recover from your losses after an accident involving an aggressive driver, Bert McDowell Injury Law has the skills and experience you need to get your life back on track. Work with us today and maximize the value of your Hartford personal injury claim.

At Bert McDowell Injury Law, we look to provide you with ease of mind. To this end, we do not charge you anything until we get your settlement, and you have no obligation to work with us after your assessment, so there is zero risk to you.

We offer our services in both English and Spanish. Contact us today for your case evaluation at (203) 633-7449 and Bring On Bert!