When you are involved in a car accident, you may want to sue for damages. One of the common questions that people ask is whether auto accidents are civil or criminal. Generally, car accidents are civil cases. However, there are certain instances where this can aggravate to become a criminal offense. In this article, we will look at such instances.
Hit and Run
The law requires that a person who hits another vehicle or person should stop. This applies even to minor accidents that may not have significant damages. However, there are some drivers who choose to run away hoping to escape liability. Such drivers may face criminal charges, depending on the outcome of the accident. Ideally, when an accident happens, there is a post-accident protocol that needs to be followed. This includes exchanging contact information and insurance information.
Some of the penalties for hit and run offenses include higher insurance premiums, prison sentence, and loss of driving privileges as well as a felony arrest among others. The worst case would be a hit and run accident that results in death or severe injuries.
Every motorist is required to drive in a careful manner, which does not endanger other motorists, pedestrians, or properties. Failure to drive in such a manner is considered reckless driving and this can be considered a criminal offense. When a motorist is driving in such a manner that is unreasonable and interferes with the use of the road by other users, the driver will face charges that are of a criminal nature. However, there are specific circumstances that will apply for a case to be considered reckless driving.
Driving at high speeds in a school zone is considered to be negligent. In the event of an accident, there will be criminal charges leveled against the driver. If the accident results in the death of a person or injuries but there is no reckless driving, the motorist will face a civil suit. The victim or the estate of the dead person will seek compensation for the damages. Some of the issues that you can seek settlement for include pain and suffering, treatment costs, lost wages and so much more. In most cases, auto accidents will be treated as civil matters but there are circumstances that can blow up the case to become a criminal matter.
How an Auto Accident Lawyer Can Help
There is so much confusion when it comes to legal issues after an accident. As such, it only makes sense to seek the help of a professional car accident attorney. These are qualified experts who will take a keen look at all the circumstances surrounding the accident. In the end, they will determine if it is a civil or criminal matter. Whatever the case, you will get help and you can focus on your recovery as the lawyer is working on your compensation.
Get a good auto accident lawyer and you will have an easier time navigating the legal systems after a car accident.