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Bronx Personal Injury & Real Estate Blog

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Is not knowing you ran someone over a defense to criminal charges?

New York City automobile accident attorneys know the challenges of hit-and-run accidents, especially ones involving pedestrians or bicyclists. As a result of the widespread use of video surveillance cameras in populated and/or commercial areas, and the fast and easy sharing of footage on social media, the odds of apprehending a driver who flees the scene of an accident are better than they’ve ever been.

But there’s a disturbing practice which New York City truck accident attorneys and others are noticing. There seems to be a reluctance by Accident Investigation Squads to press criminal charges when truck drivers in hit-and-run accidents – – even those resulting in fatalities – merely offer in their defense a statement that “they did not know they had hit somebody”.

Personal injury attorneys know that criminal cases and civil cases are two different things and the outcome of one may not necessarily impact the outcome of the other. 

Regardless of whether criminal charges are brought or upheld, the victim of an accident is entitled to pursue monetary damages in a civil court action. In order to prevail in a personal injury lawsuit, the victim must prove their injuries were caused by the negligent reckless or intentional actions or inactions of another person or entity. If the victim dies from their injuries, their closest surviving relatives may be entitled to compensatory damages in a wrongful death lawsuit similarly if liability can be established. 

Personal injury lawsuit damages often include current and future medical expenses and lost income as well as damages for pain and suffering and more. Wrongful death lawsuits are more complicated and the damages recoverable differ based on the relative’s relationship to the victim. 

Recently, a woman who was only weeks away from retiring was reportedly run over by an 18-wheeler while walking to work in the pre-dawn hours in Brooklyn. According to the authorities, the trucker did not stop and the woman died at the scene. A police investigation aided by video surveillance of the accident, led to the arrest of the alleged truck driver who reportedly told police upon questioning that he didn’t realize he ran someone over. He was reportedly not criminally charged in connection with the woman’s death. 

The lack of criminal charges in itself would not preclude the woman’s husband from pursuing a civil action for wrongful death though he would have to prove the truck driver was negligent, reckless, or intentionally causing the death. 

If you or a loved one has been injured or a loved one has been killed in a car or truck accident, or any accident that wasn’t their fault, the Goldstein Law Firm can help maximize the compensation to which you may be entitled. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

From our offices in the Bronx, New York, we help injured clients throughout New York City and New York State as well as those injured while visiting New York. 


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