Earlier this month near Key Biscayne, an accident between a car and two bicyclists claimed the life of one of the bicyclists and sent the other to the hospital with critical injuries. According to a local news report, the accident occurred in the early-morning hours, around 5:30, when the driver was returning from a nightclub.
Evidently, the driver was in the eastbound lanes of Crandon Boulevard when he looked down briefly to change the song on his iPhone. As he did so, he collided with the two bicyclists. Rather than immediately stopping and seeing if the victims needed assistance, the man continued driving back to his parents’ home in Key Biscayne.
Once there, he staged a robbery, smashing the rear windows of his Volkswagen with a set of golf clubs. However, he then immediately decided that he could not go through with the farce, and he called 911. The operator encouraged him to return to the scene, which he did. Once police arrived, they noticed that he had a strong odor of alcohol coming from his body, and that his eyes were bloodshot and his speech was slurred. He was arrested and charged with DUI and manslaughter.
The man has since posted bail and is free pending his trial. However, if he is convicted of the hit-and-run, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of four years’ incarceration. However, since he did return to the scene eventually, it is unclear if the police and prosecutors are going to classify this as a hit-and-run.
The Difference Between Criminal and Civil Charges
As indicated above, it is not clear whether the man will face the automatic minimum sentence applicable in hit-and-run cases because he did return to the scene after the accident. However, even if the police and prosecutors come to the ultimate conclusion that it was not a hit-and-run accident, the man may still be found civilly liable for his role in the fatal hit-and-run bicycle accident.
The driver can still be held accountable for his actions in leaving the scene through a civil action brought by the surviving family members of the deceased victim. In this type of case, it needn’t be determined at the outset whether the accident was a hit-and-run. Instead, all the facts will be taken into account by the judge or jury, and a decision will be made if the driver was negligent and responsible for the death of the victim.
Have You Been Involved in a Hit-and-Run Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a serious or fatal car accident, you may be entitled to monetary damages based on the driver’s negligence in causing the accident and then leaving the scene. To learn more about these accidents, and how you may be able to recover for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, call 800-753-5529 to set up a free consultation with an experienced South Florida personal injury attorney.
More Blog Posts:
Are You a Victim of Personal Injury?, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published August 26, 2014.
Man Injured in Workplace Injury Recovers $5 Million in Settlement Offer, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published January 13, 2015.