Criminal Liability for a Car AccidentJune 30, 2018
Every car accident has a unique set of circumstances that make it different from the rest. Some car accidents are minor, have no injuries, and result only in simple cosmetic damages to the vehicles. Other accidents can be major, mass-casualty incidents involving multiple cars and injured persons. Ultimately, most accidents are caused by a driver’s poor decision-making or poor driving habits. If the driver is found to have been negligent in his or her driving, the person could easily be held criminally or civilly responsible for the damages.
Civil lawsuits are common when one driver experiences lasting injuries or even physical damages to the vehicle that are not covered by insurance.However, the potential for criminal penalties for automobile accidents can be even worse, since the driver could be held criminally responsible for his or her actions, including if someone waskilled in the course of the accident.
If police officers respond to the scene of an accident, they may charge one or both of the drivers for any traffic laws that they have violated. Police officers can frequently determine the cause of an accident and trace it back to a broken law, such as speeding, failing to yield, running a stop sign, and so on. Many accidents are also caused by more serious offenses such as drunk driving or distracted driving. Seemingly innocent activities like checking your phone while driving or playing with the radio could have major consequences in the event of an accident. Anyone can be held legally responsible for breaking traffic laws, especially when they happen in the course of a car accident. It is easier to prove that a driver is at fault for an accident when he or she has been cited for a traffic violation
Negligence and Other Serious Offenses
Criminal liability for car accidents doesn’t stop at simple traffic offenses. If a driver was found to have been acting irresponsibly, the person could be charged with reckless driving, gross negligence or other serious offenses. Crashes involving alcohol or other substances carry additional criminal charges, like driving under the influence. Drivers can even be held criminally responsible for driving a car that was unfit to drive and posed a risk to other drivers on the road, such as driving a car with no brakes.
Ultimately, drivers can be held responsible for anything that happens as a result of the accident. If someone is injured or dies as a result of the car accident, the driver at fault could receive any number of additional criminal charges ranging from assault to manslaughter or even vehicular homicide.
Drivers must realize that every time they get behind the wheel of their car, they are taking on a certain amount of risk. It is important to be a careful driver and pay close attention to the road in order to minimize the chances of an accident. Some accidents will still inevitably happen due to circumstances outside of your control, like animals jumping in front of the car or poor weather conditions. However, it is important to be as safe as possible to reduce your chances of being held criminally liable for a traffic offense or a more serious charge.
This post was brought to you by SC injury lawyers who possess years of experience dealing with car accident liability.