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When an Illinois Car Accident Becomes a Crime

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Car Accidents, driver's negligence, DuPage county personal injury attorney, Illinois car accident, reckless driving, drunk driving, texting while driving, traffic violationsMost car accidents occur as the result of at least one driver's negligence or carelessness. In some of these cases, it may be difficult to prove which driver was at fault and whether he or she was being negligent at the time of an accident that resulted in property damage or injury. Other times, it seems that driver negligence is all too obvious. When obvious fault exists there is a chance that an actual crime was committed. In these cases, the at-fault driver may not only face a civil lawsuit from those affected but also criminal charges filed by the State.

Civil v. Criminal Laws

Most car accidents, no matter what the underlying cause, gives rise to civil liability. The civil law involves disagreements between individuals parties, like two drivers. After an accident, the party that was negligent is usually required to compensate those hurt. Injured patrons can file a lawsuit to protect their rights depending on the extent of their injuries. If a lawsuit is filed, the success of any case will depend on a thorough investigation into the facts of the case and a proper estimation of plaintiffs' damages that were caused by her negligence. At other times an actual lawsuit is not necessary, because attorneys can negotiate with insurance companies for full payment without the need for court intervention.

Alternatively, criminal laws are filed only by the government (the "State") and do not technically require any involvement by the injured parties. Unlike civil lawsuits, crimes are always rooted in violation of explicit statutes passed by the legislature. There are many different traffic violations or criminal charges that one may face in the aftermath of an accident. Some of the most common causes of accidents that also may have criminal consequences include:

  • Calling or texting while driving;

  • Drunk driving;

  • Speeding; and

  • Reckless driving.

It is important to remember that even in situations where no traffic citation or criminal charges are filed, injured parties can still pursue civil remedies to help in their recovery. The burden of proof is different in criminal and civil cases. This affects when charges are brought. For example, the State is required to prove the violation of a law beyond a reasonable doubt.

Alternatively, in a civil suit, a plaintiff must only show that a defendant was negligent by a preponderance of evidence. These are more than mere semantic differences, representing very real differences in evidentiary requirements to succeed at trial. Even when faced with the same facts, a judge or jury can find one liable in a civil lawsuit but not guilty in a criminal case.

In other words, the civil and criminal laws are not always tied together. As a practical matter, however, whenever a driver faces criminal charges after an accident they will face civil liability as well.

Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have suffered injury in a car accident that was the result of another driver's negligence, the attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC can protect your rights. Contact us today for a consultation. We have successful experience representing clients in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Kendall, and Will Counties.

  • DuPage County Personal Injury Lawyers
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Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help. Our trial lawyers have over 35 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from five offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Joliet, St. Charles, and Chicago.

Steven Mevorah has assembled experienced attorneys under one roof so that his clients need not search for a new attorney each time they need help. Mr. Mevorah has also established a wide network of additional attorneys so that his clients merely need to stop by Mevorah Law Offices LLC to find the attorney they need.

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