Earlier last month, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia released an opinion regarding an incident of road rage that went too far, resulting in serious injury to one of the drivers involved. In the case, Phillips v. Stear, the court reversed a lower court’s opinion that had found that the plaintiff failed to make out his case against the defendant.
The accident that gave rise to the case occurred back in December 2010. According to court documents, the plaintiff and the defendant were both traveling in the same direction on the highway when the defendant swerved in front of the plaintiff, applied quick pressure to the brakes, and then made an obscene hand gesture toward the plaintiff. As a result of the rapid slow-down in front of him, the plaintiff truck driver also applied the brakes. However, as he did so, he lost control of the truck and crashed it off the side of the road.
A witness to the accident followed the defendant as he fled the scene, relaying the driver’s license plate information to the police. The police conducted a brief investigation and shortly thereafter located the defendant and issued a citation for an improper lane change. The defendant paid the ticket.