In our previous post, we began looking at the issue of civil liability as it might apply to car accidents in which the party that caused the accidents acted intentionally. As we noted, car accidents are more often than not a matter of negligence, but what about cases where it is more than negligence?
Such cases are admittedly rarer than cases involving negligence, but they do occur. Intentional car accidents have been known to occur, for example, in connection with auto insurance fraud schemes. Certainly, cases of road rage can sometimes lead to intentional crashes. Whatever the specific circumstances might be, intentional car crashes raise unique issues.
First of all, there is the issue of insurance coverage. In many states, insurance companies are allowed to decline coverage for intentional accidents, so they write this into their policies. So, for purposes of obtaining insurance coverage, it isn’t necessarily always beneficial to seek to prove that the driver who caused the accident acted intentionally. When a case is brought through the court system, though, that is a different matter.
Second, there is the issue of damages. In cases where a car accident leads to litigation, an accident victim has the ability to seek out compensatory damages, which includes both economic and non-economic damages. In cases where the accident was caused intentionally, it may be possible to obtain punitive damages, which are geared toward punishing the defendant rather than compensating the victim.
Those who have been involved in a car accident should always work with an experienced attorney, of course, to determine the best course of action in their case. This is particularly true when the accident was caused intentionally.