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 accidentally or intentionally striking someone can lead to some criminal as well as civil charges filed against you. When in doubt, always proceed with caution to avoid hitting pedestrians. Read on to learn more about the consequences of negligent driving that puts others at risk.

What are the Criminal Penalties I Might Face?

Hit and Run Accidents
When a driver strikes a pedestrian, they are expected to stop and assess the damage. If the victim hasn’t suffered noticeable damages they will remain at the scene for law enforcement to arrive. The driver might exchange insurance information as they wait.

That does not always happen in pedestrian accident cases. When drivers realize they could be taking on a higher auto insurance premium for three to five years following the wreck, they might flee the scene. In cases such as this, the police department would file criminal charges against the hit-and-run driver for leaving the accident. They would impose a fine or imprisonment outside of the lawsuit we’d file to recover compensation on your behalf.

Those driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) causing a car-pedestrian accident could look forward to a DUI or DWI arrest and conviction. Depending on the injuries the victim sustained, the incident would be considered an aggravated assault. The penalties for causing harm are harsher than if there are no injuries at all. Negligent drivers could be charged for prison time, longer suspension of your driver's license, and even high fines.

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.

Personal injury attorney Los Angeles will aid you in determining if the pedestrian's death was indeed an accident.

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
A pedestrian accident lawyer in Los Angeles is the best legal resource to defend you in the event of a civil suit. If you are the driver and hit a pedestrian, for instance, the pedestrian might file this type of lawsuit to fight for losses incurred in the accident.

Before a lawsuit or insurance claim, the claimant will establish the fault of the driver. Typically, for their case to win, they have substantial evidence you were negligent on the road. It will incorporate witness statements, police reports, and critical medical documents.

In the end, you’d pay the claimant for all injuries sustained in the accident. Compensation would include medical expenses, pain, and suffering, and lost time from work. Most personal injury cases settle out of court through insurance. Sometimes, though, the protection will not apply. That is, if the accident was from a DUI, for instance.

Wrongful Death Suit
When a pedestrian dies after being struck by a motor vehicle, surviving family members will file suit. This type of litigation is called a wrongful death suit. In such a case, the driver is responsible for paying damages done to survivors of the pedestrian from 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.

Should such a case occur to you, it’ll be helpful to have an attorney that can represent you in both criminal and civil cases. Having a powerful LA personal injury attorney to represent you in these cases is a must. Your legal counsel will be able to answer your questions while providing you with the best representation for your case.