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The Intersection of Civil and Criminal Liability in Personal Injury Cases

The judicial system in the United States divides all cases into one of two distinct categories:  civil or criminal. However, sometimes a case will end up in both the criminal and the civil court systems. This normally occurs when a defendant’s illegal actions result in either physical injury or property damage to another person. In these cases, the jurisdiction in which the alleged crime occurred is entitled to prosecute the defendant under the criminal laws of the state. In addition, anyone injured by the defendant’s allegedly negligent or intentional actions is also entitled to bring a lawsuit seeking monetary damages.

bike-rider-1536275While the same set of actions may end up bringing a defendant to court in both civil and criminal courts, the burdens of proof in each system are different. In a criminal trial, a judge or jury must find the defendant guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” However, in civil cases, a judge or jury must determine liability only by a “preponderance of the evidence.” These terms, while difficult to assign an exact meaning to, represent a big difference in what is required to prove a case under each system.

Man Hits Bicyclist and Then Flees the Scene

A recent example of a situation that may land a defendant in both civil and criminal courts is a hit-and-run accident that occurred in Miami Beach earlier this month. According to one local news source, the accident occurred shortly after a man allegedly hijacked a car in the area of Washington Avenue and First Street.

Evidently, a police officer saw a man attempt to hijack a car. When the man noticed the police presence, he fled, jumping into another car. The man then proceeded to flee from police on the MacArthur Causeway. As he was fleeing, he struck a bicyclist near Palm Island. The bicyclist was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Police are still looking for the hit-and-run driver.

While the driver still remains at large, once he is arrested he will likely face a series of criminal charges. In addition, the bicyclist who was injured in the hit-and-run accident may have a civil case for monetary damages against the hit-and-run driver.

Have You Been Injured in a Miami Beach Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been involved in any kind of South Florida accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. As noted above, whenever the other driver was engaging in criminal conduct at the time of the accident, such as drinking and driving, proving a case against that driver may be easier than relying on traditional theories of negligence. However, that does not mean that simple negligence will not also result in liability. To learn more about the Florida laws that govern car accidents and victim compensation, call the dedicated car accident attorneys at the South Florida law firm of Cecere Santana at 800-753-5529. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation on your part unless we are able to help you recover damages for your injuries.

More Blog Posts:

Alcohol-Related Accidents on Florida Roads, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published January 14, 2016.

Drunk Driving on South Florida Roads, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published February 9, 2016.

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