You are probably wondering what happens if you are involved in a Massachusetts car accident caused by another driver. Does the accident qualify for civil or criminal action? Do you press criminal charges? What is a legal civil action?
In the last couple of years, the frequency of deaths in the state has been comparatively low, as reported by the U.S Department of Transportation. There was a sharp increase in the statistics in 2016, as the number reached an estimated 395 fatalities per annum.
We want you to understand all of your legal rights after the Massachusetts car accident. Continue reading for a simple explanation of the difference between a civil and criminal car accident case.
How Is a Civil Car Accident Different from A Criminal Car Accident Case?
In a civil car accident case, a person who suffered injuries and considerable property damage in the incident demands financial reimbursement from the other party that caused it. The claim will show how the other party’s negligence and carelessness led to the accident and victims’ injuries, along with their property damage.
The victim only needs to prove that it was more likely than not that the incident that occurred was caused by the other party. If the case of a civil car accident is successful, the responsible driver and their insurance company will pay for the cost of the damages.
However, a criminal car accident case is different. These cases are handled by expert prosecutors from the county District Attorney’s office. A criminal case endeavors to punish an individual for committing a crime that caused a car accident. For example, a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs may experience some serious criminal charges. The guilty driver will receive criminal convictions such as imprisonment, fines, or probation.
In some situations, the court may order the criminal defendant to pay the victims of their crime restitution, or monetary compensation. In contrast with a civil case, the state must prove each element of the charged offense beyond a reasonable suspicion, a much higher standard than a civil case requires.
Car Wrecks That May Qualify for Criminal Litigation Include:
Some car wrecks may lead to criminal charges as well as a civil case:
Intoxicated drivers are much likely to make deadly mistakes and cause fatal Massachusetts car accidents. Hence, it is illegal to drive while intoxicated throughout the United States. Therefore, it is treated as a criminal act because it constitutes a risk to the general public.
The law requires a driver involved in an accident to stop their vehicle, provide medical aid if essential, and exchange information. If a driver fails to stop the car, it would be considered as breaking the law even if the accident is minor. The type of penalties the drivers face is usually determined by the magnitude of injuries and property damage.
Reckless Driving Accidents
Reckless driving accidents occur when another driver’s demeanor generates a level of threat on the road. Unless a driver’s behavior causes injuries or death, most negligent driving accidents are not deemed criminal cases.
Can I File a Criminal Case After a Massachusetts Car Accident?
Commonly, criminal cases are filed by police and attorneys. However, you can also file an application yourself to have a criminal complaint issued by the court for certain felony charges. This obliges going to the relevant police department and obtaining a full-fledged police incident report.
After acquiring the police report, the next step is to file an application for criminal charges with the municipal or district court where the impact took place. A hearing would be scheduled with you and the defendant by the court. At the hearing, the clerk magistrate would review the case, scrutinize the evidence provided, and conclude whether there is probable cause to issue a criminal complaint.
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help?
An attorney with extensive experience from The Law Office of Robert C. Shea, P.C can assist you with your claims, in the case where you or a loved one was hurt in a car accident. We are able to:
- Explain what to expect during your case and your legal rights
- Conduct an investigation about the incident to secure evidence and testimony from witnesses
- Prepare a compelling argument, in some cases with the help of an accident reconstruction expert, which illustrates how the accident took place and identifies the culprit
- File your claim with appropriate insurance providers and firmly pursue an agreement that provides you with full and fair compensation
- Take your claim to court if it gives you the best possible opportunity for a full financial as well as medical recovery
Contact the Law Office of Robert C. Shea:
Call or contact the Law Office of Robert C. Shea, if you were involved in a Massachusetts car accident. Our attorneys have comprehensive knowledge in dealing with such cases. You can also consult us to learn more about the legal claim procedures and other relevant legal frameworks.