NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Aggressive driving cases are becoming more common for trial attorney Rocky McElhaney.
“We’ve had three road rage settlements in the last two months. It’s really bad out there right now. There’s a lot of aggression. I think related to Covid,” McElhaney said.
He’s continuously astounded by his client’s stories, “When he gets out of his car, they run and hit him while in their car. He has a dislocated shoulder. They ran over him!”
Nashvillians have started to wise up to ways they can hold people accountable for their bad behavior, and McElhaney said they should but safely.
“In this day and time, with Tennessee’s gun laws, we don’t know who’s carrying a gun, right? So don’t escalate,” he said.
Instead, if you can get away, do. But if you’re in a collision McElhaney suggested the following.
“Number one, take pictures. Number two, get medical treatment.”
McElhaney relied heavily on data collected and stored in the black box installed in newer model vehicles to help prove what witnesses saw leading up to the crash.
“Your car knows your acceleration speed if you’re going left or right, how you’re maneuvering, and if you’re turning. It knows if your signal light is on. It knows how hard you hit the brakes. It records all of that,” McElhaney explained.
If the data proves you’re the aggressor in the incident, then you may face an aggravated assault charge.
“Aggravated assault typically requires a weapon, but the courts have found that cars are weapons,” McElhaney explained.
Meaning, if you are intentionally engaged in road rage and you cause harm, then you can go to jail.
McElhaney said, “An aggravated assault is a felony,” which holds a sentence of one to four years behind bars added to a civil suit and punitive damages.
“They need to understand,” he continued, “that most insurance agencies that cover their actions driving don’t cover punitive damages. So, their wages and assets can be at stake.”
Making a moment of madness linger, said McElhaney, in the lives of many for years to come.
“It’s best if we can all just get along.”