Articles Posted in Aggressive Driving

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Before a defendant can be held liable for the injuries they caused to another person, the injured party must prove their case against the defendant. In cases that alleged that the defendant was negligent, this requires the plaintiff to prove four elements:  duty, breach, causation, and damages. A plaintiff’s failure to prove any one of these elements will be fatal to the plaintiff’s case.

Intersection at NightThe element of duty is often a simple one to establish, and it requires a plaintiff to prove that the defendant owed them some duty of care. In many cases, this issue is conceded by the defense. However, that will not always be the case, especially in premises liability cases.

Breach is often where much of the litigation takes place in personal injury cases. Essentially, the breach element requires a judge to determine if the defendant violated the duty of care owed to the plaintiff. One aspect of the breach element is foreseeability. In other words, were the plaintiff’s injuries a foreseeable result of the defendant’s conduct?

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Earlier last month in West Virginia, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a road-rage case, reversing a lower court’s decision. In the case, Phillips v. Stear, the lower court entered a verdict in favor of the defendant after the jury determined that the plaintiff had failed to prove his case. However, on appeal, the case was reversed, based on the defendant’s failure to disclose his past driving record when asked on cross-examination.

road-1284401_960_720The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff, a commercial truck driver, was injured when he was involved in an accident following an altercation with the defendant. According to the court’s opinion, the defendant swerved in front of the plaintiff, gave him “the finger,” and then slammed on his brakes. The plaintiff lost control of the truck and crashed, injuring himself as a result.

Initially, the defendant fled the scene. However, a witness to the accident followed him and called the police. He was eventually tracked down by the vehicle’s license plate number. When police confronted the defendant, he denied responsibility, claiming that he was the victim of misidentification.

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