Does road rage constitute a motor vehicle accident?
Recently a YouTube video went viral after a road rage incident took a particularly nasty turn with one of the drivers of a car wielding a chainsaw in a rather threatening manner. Road rage can involve not just verbal assault and intimidation, but physical harm and violence as well.
Is a road rage incident compensable under the motor vehicle accident legislation?
The definition of a motor accident is complex and requires there to be:
- an incident or accident involving the ‘use or operation’ of a vehicle causing injury;
- the injury must be caused during the driving of the vehicle, a collision (or action taken to avoid a collision), the vehicle running out of control or a dangerous situation caused by the driving, collision or running out of control.
So if a road rage incident involves the use of a car (e.g. one driver drives his or her car deliberately at another car, bicycle or pedestrian and injures someone) then it is likely to be a motor vehicle accident.
But if a driver takes offence at something another driver has done on the road, gets out of his car, throws a punch at another driver (or hits out with a bottle or baseball bat) and injures the victim, that incident it is unlikely to be considered a motor vehicle accident because the motor vehicle was incidental and the real cause of the injury was the physical assault by one driver of another.
If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, and to arrange a free, no-obligation assessment of your claim, please call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800, or alternatively make an online enquiry.
Written by Belinda Cassidy.
Belinda Cassidy holds the position of Special Counsel at Stacks Goudkamp. She had previously held the position of Principal Claims Assessor at the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) for 18 years, and currently holds an appointment as a Claims Assessor under the Motor Accidents Compensation Act.