Pedestrian Accidents: Civil vs. Criminal Consequences

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There are too many traffic accidents involving pedestrians on our nation's roads and highways. Unfortunately, being the driver of a car and striking a pedestrian can lead to some criminal as well as civil charges filed against you. Here are some instances where you need to proceed with caution not to hit pedestrians. There are a few instances where the driver of the vehicle is not at fault for the motor vehicle accident involving a pedestrian.

What are the Criminal Penalties I Might Face?

Hit and Run accidents

Most of the time, when a driver strikes a pedestrian, the driver will stop and follow proper procedures following an accident. That is, the driver will remain at the scene and give his or her insurance information. In cases such as these, the pedestrian might file a personal injury suit against the driver. Also, the driver would have a higher auto insurance premium for three to five years following the wreck. Sometimes, though, the driver of the car will flee the scene of the accident. In cases such as this, the police department might file criminal charges against the driver. These charges would be for leaving the scene of an accident. They would impose a fine or imprisonment for the driver.


If you were driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated and cause a car-pedestrian accident, you could look forward to a DUI or DWI arrest and conviction. If the wreck caused an injury to the person, you could expect that this would be considered an aggravated assault. The penalties for causing harm to a pedestrian for DUI and DWI are harsher than if there are no injuries caused. If the accident causes pain and suffering for the pedestrian, you could look forward to some prison time, longer suspension of your driver's license, and even high fines. On the flip side, if there are no injuries, you might not be serving any time for the DUI or DWI.

Vehicular Manslaughter

Vehicular manslaughter is also called involuntary manslaughter. Since many traffic deaths are resulting from pedestrian-vehicle crashes, the law does not take these types of fatalities with a faint heart. It is only under certain circumstances that a driver will face prosecution because he or she was at fault in a car-pedestrian accident that resulted in death.

For instance, the driver had to have been driving recklessly, immediately preceding the accident. Examples of reckless driving include a driver going 100 in a school zone, and the driver was driving under the influence or while intoxicated. The circumstances leading up to the accident will always determine if a driver gets involuntary manslaughter charges. If that is the case, the driver will get with vehicular manslaughter. That is, the driver had to probably be driving with disregard of the consequences of their driving.

Personal injury attorney Las Angeles will aid you in determining if the pedestrian's death was indeed an accident. Los Angeles attorney for pedestrian accidents will be there to defend you in an involuntary manslaughter case. But, if the accident was just that and no extenuating circumstances were leading up to the death of the pedestrian, it is unlikely you will need a Los Angeles attorney for car wrecks.

What are Some Civil Penalties I might Face?

Because you might face civil penalties, you will likely need a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles.

Personal Injury Lawsuits and Insurance Claims

Pedestrian accident lawyer in Los Angeles might not be able to defend you in the event of a civil suit filed against you. If you are the driver and hit a pedestrian, the pedestrian might file a civil case against you. The pedestrian should employ a Los Angeles pedestrian-car accident attorney to fight for losses incurred in the accident.

Before a lawsuit or insurance claim, the claimant will establish the fault of the driver. That is, the injured will show that the driver was negligent and caused the accident by taking witness statements from anyone who saw the accident or was involved. Also, the police report written after the crash will tell who is at fault. The traffic report the police officer writes is critical evidence. The officer's statement will stress any laws the driver broke to cause the accident.

Finally, the driver must pay the claimant for all injuries sustained in the accident. These payments can include medical expenses, pain, and suffering, and lost time from work.

In most cases, a personal injury case will settle out of court with the insurance of the driver paying the claimant. Sometimes, though, the protection will not apply. That is, if the accident was from a DUI, for instance.

Wrongful Death Suit

Sometimes, when a pedestrian dies after being struck by a motor vehicle, the survivors will file suit. In this type of litigation, it is called a wrongful death suit. In such a case, the driver is responsible for paying damages done to survivors of the pedestrian. That is such losses as loss of income, loss of companionship, funeral expenses, and much more.

If it were not bad enough that you struck a passenger, the idea of civil and criminal charges filed against you should make you want to watch out more carefully next time you are on the road. It seems that many of us are mindful of pedestrians on the road, but sometimes we do not notice the pedestrian until it is too late. If such a case should occur to you, it should be helpful that you have an attorney to represent you in both the criminal and civil cases. Having a powerful LA personal injury attorney to represent you in these cases is a must. That is especially true if you are facing criminal charges. The lawyer will ask you many questions. Most importantly, the attorney will be mindful of your situation and represent you the best he or she can.