Assault at a Car Accident Scene
In 2020 you’d imagine that there are more important things going on than getting so upset over a wreck or traffic issue that it would lead to assault. However, that’s exactly what happens, and it happens more often than many people care to acknowledge. If you’ve been involved in an accident and got injured, an experienced Houston car crash attorney can help.
What Does Assault Include?
In 2018 there were over 73,000 aggravated assault reports, now that doesn’t offer a clear tie in the volume of these reports to car accidents, but it’s clear that assault is a serious issue. Texas has the second-highest volume of reported aggravated assaults behind California.
So what does assault include, and what exactly is it? Assault is the cause of bodily injury or the threat of harm to another person. Additionally, a person acting in a way that could knowingly cause physical contact or harm with another person can count as assault.
This happens when people fight at car accident scenes when people make threats and more. It’s not that uncommon, mostly because the definition for assault is so broad and can include threats.
Do People Really Assault Each Other Over Car Accidents?
Yes, it does happen; there have been numerous well-known cases of people being assaulted or even murdered because of car accidents or even something as simple as following too closely. These cases stand as a testament to all drivers that taking “aggressive” action such as tailgating, brake checking, or purposefully driving slowly through a high-speed area can not only lead to accidents but much more serious issues.
How Does the Houston Police Department Handle Assault Charges?
Houston police will likely detain, and press charges based on the assault allegations right way. Now the reason why they are allegations is that even though you know they assaulted you, they will still go through the criminal court system. That means that the police will press charges and organize their evidence, but ultimately they’ll hand it over to the courts.
From there, the case will proceed through the criminal court system, which often does not excessively include the victim. There will be a point where police or a district attorney may tell you that you’ve done everything you can do.
Will You Have Two Cases Now?
You will technically only have the one civil case, which initially begins as an insurance claim relating to the damages of the crash. The insurance company will try to fight that the damages from the assault are not part of the crash and cannot be included in the claim. Be very careful and have a Houston car crash attorney negotiate on these issues because you should be able to recover all damages related to the wreck, and the assault is directly related to the wreck.
You can, however, take a more active role in the criminal case through victim advocacy groups. Contacting a victim advocacy group can help you ensure that your voice and experience are heard in court during the assailant’s criminal trial.
What Does the Assault Charge Mean for Your Insurance Claim?
The assault charge could mean that the other driver in the crash has lost their coverage. Many insurance companies will offer some compensation for the victims, but it can be much more difficult to obtain now because that person violated the terms of their insurance agreement. For those people, it means that they likely won’t receive any compensation even if they had “full” or comprehensive coverage.
For you, it could just mean that the process is slightly more complex. The insurance company may also want to wait for the criminal case to close to determine if there was assault and if they need to factor that element into their claim for emotional injury.
Should You Contact a Houston Car Crash Attorney?
You should absolutely contact a Houston car crash attorney. Not only will you need to handle the case of your accident and that insurance claim, but you’ll also need someone to shed some light on how pending criminal charges will impact your compensation. If the other person assaulted you, threatened you, or harassed you, then you need to work to showcase that you were in no way at fault. When you’re handling something as severe as car accident-related assault, there will be mixing between your claim or civil case, and the criminal charges against the other driver.
Reaching out to our car accident injury law firm at McDonald Worley in Houston is the first step toward feeling secure in handling both cases. While you may not have to do much at all for the criminal charges against the other driver, you do need someone in your corner for the civil aspect of the resolution.