ROAD RAGE RISING
Lawyers say driver attacks have doubled
ROAD rage incidents in the Tweed have lawyers working around the clock on compensation claims as frustrated drivers vent their anger on other motorists.
Attwood Marshall Lawyers, which is based out of Coolangatta and Kingscliff, said road rage cases had more than doubled in five years.
Solicitor and personal injury specialist Jeremy Roche said there had been an increasing number of drivers intentionally hitting pedestrians or cyclists.
“The severity and callousness of the road rage incidents is escalating across the board,” he said.
“We’re seeing far more clients coming through the door where they’ve been injured as the result of a road rage attack or because somebody has intentionally tried to cause them harm with a vehicle.”
One of those victims was Tweed Heads resident Kent Umstad, who was riding a motorbike to work in Palm Beach when he was hit by a passing car, leaving him with ligament tears in his right shoulder, severe whiplash and a broken back that will never heal.
“In June last year I was on the way to work riding a motorcycle and I stopped at a red light and a car ploughed straight through me and then a red light, swerved to miss another car and just kept going,” he said.
“I passed them around 150m before the red light, they moved from the lefthand lane to the right-hand lane, I was uneasy on a motorbike with the lane change so I moved into the left lane and stopped at the red lights. Then I just saw the flash of headlights in the rear vision mirror and went over the roof. One of the witnesses behind them said they switched lanes just before the impact, so I have a feeling they did it on purpose.”
The person who hit Mr Umstad was never found.
He approached Attwood Marshall Lawyers following the incident, who helped him with a compensation claim, but the mental scars remain.
“I have post-traumatic stress disorder, I have nightmares every night, I still can’t sleep and I can’t ride a motorbike,” he said.
CLAIM: Attwood Marshal Lawyers senior associate Jeremy Roche and client Kent Umstad.