Most people are quick to realize that a person who drives recklessly and causes an accident should pay the price, but many are confused about what punishments are available. In some cases, there are no crimes involved and it is a bit easier to predict what will happen. A simple personal injury case, which falls into the civil law category, and monetary damages is all that is available to punish the at-fault driver. Read on to learn more:
When you get injured you may not, at first, care very much about whether or not any laws were broken by the person who hit you. At some point, however, you may begin to suffer the negative financial effects of the accident and want to be compensated for your damages. You should understand that if the at-fault driver also broke laws and has been charged with crimes connected with that accident, it could help your civil case.
Some Accident-Related Crimes
The actions of the other driver must include criminal behavior that is judged to have caused or contributed to the accident. For example, a driver that drinks and gets behind the wheel could be charged with DUI. If an accident occurred as a result of the drunk driver, that drunk driver might face enhanced charges, depending on state laws. If the worst happens and someone dies as a result of the actions of that drunk driver, the driver could face manslaughter or another type of homicide.
It should be noted that accidents that happen because of a drunk driver are only part of the story, there are many other criminal charges available for those who disobey laws and cause accidents and injuries. For example, reckless driving can be a criminal charge if someone is injured, and if the person was speeding at the time of wreck the charges could be enhanced even further to a felony speeding charge.
The Difference in Proof
One of the main differences in a civil suit and a criminal suit is the level of proof required for a conviction. Criminal law cases must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but civil cases must only be proven by what is known as a preponderance of the evidence.
While criminal charges might make you feel that justice has been done, you can only reap financial relief by filing a civil suit against the driver. You can expect to get several types of money damages, such as:
- Full payment of all of your medical expenses
- Replacement or repair of your wrecked car
- Reimbursement of lost wages
- Pain and suffering
If the driver that hit you has been charged and convicted of criminal acts, you may be facing an enhanced level of compensation. Speak to a personal injury attorney today.