All cases that arise under Indiana law are filed in either civil or criminal court. Criminal cases are brought by the government against a person accused of violating the state’s criminal laws. Civil cases, on the other hand, arise when an accident victim is hurt due to another’s negligent, intentional, or reckless conduct.
In some situations, however, an accident can result in cases being filed in both civil and criminal courts. This is most often the case when a driver’s conduct is criminal in nature, and it causes serious bodily injury or death to one of the accident victims. Of course, these two justice systems are completely separate, and a defendant being found guilty in criminal court does not necessarily mean that an accident victim will be entitled to monetary compensation for their injuries through a civil lawsuit.
With that said, the burden of proof in a criminal case is higher than that in a civil case. This means that, while a guilty verdict in a criminal case doesn’t necessary equate with civil liability, it is a strong indication that civil liability may follow.
High Driver Kills Three on Interstate 69
Earlier this month in Pike County, Indiana, three people were killed when an allegedly drunk driver struck their vehicles. According to one local news report, the accident occurred at around 9:30 in the evening on a Friday night.
Evidently, police received a call for a Chevy Tahoe traveling the wrong way on Interstate 69. As police responded to the scene, they found the Tahoe heading northbound in the southbound lanes. A police officer attempted to get the driver’s attention by driving into the median. The Tahoe then entered the median, made a U-turn, and began heading south in the northbound lanes. A few moments later, the Tahoe collided head-on with a Ford Focus. After the initial impact, a third car collided with the Focus.
In all, three people lost their lives in the accident: both the driver and the passenger in the Ford Focus, as well as a passenger in the third vehicle involved. During the investigation, the driver of the Tahoe told police that he had smoked meth earlier that night. Later that night at the hospital, a nurse found a bag of meth on the driver’s person.
Have You Been Injured in an Indiana Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in any kind of Indiana car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. If the other driver was arrested for their involvement, that may make your case easier to prove. However, it is important to keep in mind that criminal liability is certainly not a prerequisite to civil liability. Call 866-745-7411 to set up a free consultation with a dedicated Indiana personal injury attorney today to discuss your case. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation on your part unless we are ultimately able to help you recover compensation for your injuries.
Woman Sues Department of Transportation for Poor Highway Condition, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, February 10, 2016
Indiana Legislature Proposes Increase in Medical Malpractice Cap, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, January 20, 2016