Can A Vehicle Be A Weapon?
Whilst most casualties of incidents involving a motor vehicle are the victim of a driver’s accidental moment of carelessness, what happens if the cause of the injuries wasn’t an accident?
It can be said that in the wrong hands a car can be a deadly weapon. When a vehicle is used deliberately to cause harm, the consequences can be severe or even fatal. A deliberately planned attack or a moment of road rage can result in serious, sometimes life-changing injuries, leaving people unable to work on either a short or long term basis, or needing to pay for care and support.
A startling 81% of drivers surveyed in research undertaken in 2017 by comparison site Carwow reported to have been involved in some form of road rage at some point whilst travelling on the road. Clearly some road rage incidents are much more serious than others. In May 2017, a cyclist in Rochester was airlifted to safety with serious head injuries following a road rage incident with a motorcyclist and a woman in North London was sentenced for ramming a cyclist who had kicked her wing mirror. In April 2017, a motorcyclist was charged with the road rage murder of a 74-year-old.
In the event that an insurance policy covers injury and losses sustained as a result of an accident, insurers could try to argue that deliberate injuries should be excluded. In such circumstances, insurers could try to dispute that their liability under the Road Traffic Act 1988 extends to compensate victims concerned with incidents where there was no accident.
A criminal conviction will often follow in the event that a vehicle has been used as a weapon with the intent to cause harm and the Court may order the offender pay compensation to their victim. This compensation however is limited to what the offender can afford, is often paid in instalments and may depend on the sentence the court has given them. An offender may not be ordered to pay any compensation if they’re being sent to prison. If an award for compensation is made it may still fall short of covering the full cost of the damage or loss.
As a safety net, where the injury caused by the vehicle was deliberate and the victim’s injuries have been caused by a violent crime, the government can provide compensation to victims through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The CICA Scheme was established to compensate innocent victims who suffer personal injury as a result of violent crime. This scheme therefore provides some form of financial compensation to the victim in recognition of the personal injury sustained and of the traumatic ordeal experienced.
If you have been the victim of an incident on the road, whether accidental or deliberate, and require support and assistance in recovering the right compensation please contact us.
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