If a Person Does Not Get Charged With a Crime, Can You Still Sue?
On December 14th just before 11:30 pm, a crash occurred leaving one dead on the scene of the accident, but no charges were brought. The accident occurred on Florida 50 and Dean Road, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. According to the press release, a man was walking across Florida 50 when he was struck by a vehicle that was driven by a resident of Orange Park. Reports state that the pedestrian was not walking in a crosswalk or an intersection at the time that he was hit. The man was pronounced dead on the scene. It is unclear as to where the pedestrian was headed at the time of the crash, though an investigation is still ongoing.
While no one was charged in this case, and in many situations a person involved in a car crash may not be charged criminally, there are still options for victims and their families. When someone is charged criminally, the charge is brought on by the state. When a person or groups of people are suing another person, it is done in a civil court and is a completely different situation. Below are basic explanations of two types of suits that may be brought in the result of an auto accident.
One way in which a person may bring a lawsuit against another after an auto accident is through a negligence case. In order for a person to succeed at a case alleging negligence there are three things they must prove—duty, breach, and causation.
The first thing someone bringing a suit for negligence needs to prove is that a person had a duty to the victim. Generally, in cases involving a car crash, this duty would be to be a safe and responsible driver and to be cautious of those around them. The second thing that must be proven is that there was a breach of that duty. This means that a person did not fulfill this duty. Regarding car accidents, this generally is fulfilled by circumstances regarding the situation. This could be someone running a red light, talking on a cell phone, drinking and driving, etc. The final thing that one must prove in a negligence case is causation. Causation means that due to a person not fulfilling their duty, an injury occurred. In an auto accident case, the causation would be that an accident occurred and a person was injured due to the driver of the other vehicle failing to fulfill their duty of being a responsible driver.
Another type of lawsuit that may be brought by a victim’s family is a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death suit is similar to a general case of negligence, but, of course, may only be brought by a victim’s family in a situation in which a victim has died. In Florida, “When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, negligence…..and the event would have entitled the person injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued, the person….that would have been liable in damages if death had not ensued shall be liable for damages as specified in this act notwithstanding the death of the person injured, although death was caused under circumstances constituting a felony.” Basically, if the victim did not die and would have been able to bring a lawsuit against a person for negligence or some other charge related to the accident, their family or representative may bring that lawsuit in the form of a wrongful death lawsuit. In this situation, the party bringing the suit would still have to be able to prove all parts of the underlying action. In situations of an auto accident, a family bringing a wrongful death lawsuit may have to prove all three parts of negligence in order to successfully win a wrongful death suit.
Do You Have a Case?
Were you a victim of an auto accident that left you injured? Do you have a loved one that died due to an auto accident? Contact the attorneys at Reed & Reed today to learn how we can help. From our office in Brandon, we help clients in Tampa, New Tampa, Plant City, throughout east Hillsborough County and the state of Florida. Contact Reed & Reed for a free consultation.