The other day, as I was driving home from work I had an encounter I want to share with you. I was driving on Interstate 5 in the left lane, but I was approaching my exit, so I engaged my turn signal and began to merge to the middle lane. Shortly after I started changing lanes, a guy from the right lane also began to merge into the center lane. He was gonna hit me, so I laid on my horn and slowed down. He continued to merge in front of me, and once he was ahead of me in the center lane, he stuck his hand out the window and flipped me off.
Perhaps that could have been the end of this incident, but I didn’t appreciate that he first almost hit me, then he flipped me off. I let him know how I felt by flashing my high beams at him. His response was to slam on his brakes, going from 30 miles per hour to a full stop in a matter of seconds. Fortunately, I was paying attention and my car has good brakes, so I was able to stop before I hit him. I checked my rear-view mirror, and the car behind me had stopped with inches to spare. Before I could react, the lead driver took off, but not before I got his license number and reported him for reckless driving.
When I got home and described this confrontation with my wife, her first response was “if you had hit him, could he sue you?” The answer, sadly is yes. Without a witness to confirm what he did, I would be on the hook as the following driver, and my insurance company would pay for the damage to the car, as well as for any injury he claimed.
It is often the case with clients who come to see me that fault for causing the accident is disputed. Without a witness or video footage, there is likely nothing that can be done legally.
Since that incident I installed a dashcam in my car. If something like that happens again, I will have video proof, and I will be protected. I highly recommend that anyone who drives install a dashcam in their car. You can get one cheap, and it could really make the difference if you are a victim of road rage.
Below is a video I recorded on Periscope. It describes this incident in more depth, and discusses the importance of having a dashcam. You can follow me on Periscope and Twitter @dubinlawoffice. And if you have any questions about auto accidents or the personal injury claims process, check my website or give me a call.