Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Are car accidents civil or criminal?

Are car accidents civil or criminal?

Car accidents are very common around the world. At least in the cities. If you are injured in a car crash, or if you have injured someone in a car crash, you can easily expect a legal headache. But do you know whether car accidents are considered civil or criminal? Do you know the difference between civil and criminal cases? In this post, we will discover the answers to this and many more questions, so don’t worry if you don’t know the answer.

Civil cases vs Criminal cases 

Let’s start with understanding the difference between civil and criminal cases. You probably know a gist of it from your favorite crime shows but here is what the real thing is. 

Civil cases are filed when there is some sort of dispute between the two parties and one is seeking compensation from the other. This means if you injure someone in a car accident you will have to pay for their loss. This, however, does not imply that you would act carelessly on the road and continue to cause mischief since money can get you out of most situations. You can purchase a new car or get car insurance, but human lives cannot be risked this way.

Criminal cases generally have one person accused of a crime. The punishment is given according to the crime committed, however, the punishments are way more serious than the ones given in civil cases. 

Note that when these cases are heard in court, the evidence required for either type of case is completely different. Moreover, the outcome of a civil case is usually compensation and not criminal punishment. If you seek compensation filing a criminal case won’t help you and vice-versa. 

In any case, we suggest you take help from a professional lawyer to help you out. Based on the evidence and the results you seek, they shall guide you with a proper procedure. 

Are car accidents civil or criminal? 

Let’s address the main issue now. Automobile accidents are often categorized as civil proceedings. However, there are some situations when the driver is at fault and the victim is seriously injured or dead and these are the situations where criminal charges will be imposed.

Car crashes that are considered a criminal offense 

Drink and drive 

Driving while drunk is prohibited if the driver’s blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or above. Be careful, even a drink or two is enough to raise your blood alcohol concentration above the accepted 0.08%. 

Drinking Under the Influence (DUI) is considered an offense, especially if it involves an injury or death. Depending on whether it is a driver’s first, second, or third violation, and whether they have previously been sentenced, different criminal consequences may apply. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has a list of fines for infractions involving drugs or alcohol, including penalties, a term of license suspension, a program to prevent drunk driving, jail, and more.

Hit and run 

Accidents happen, but running away from your responsibility after an accident is considered a crime. If you accidentally hit a pedestrian or some other vehicle, don’t run away. Follow the post-accident protocol. Call the emergency service. Make sure the victim gets treatment before it’s too late. If you run away instead, depending on the outcome of your accident you shall receive the penalty. It could be a prison sentence or your license will be suspended or something severe that is in accordance with the results of your crime. 

Driving recklessly 

Exceeding the speed limit, not following the lane, and overtaking without proper indications are some common signs of a reckless driver. As a responsible driver, you are expected to drive cautiously and by following all the rules and regulations. You might be in a hurry but that doesn’t mean you’ll put everyone’s life at risk. 

Bottom line 

Nothing is stopping the number of cars on the road. Even inflation cannot stop people from buying cars, thanks to EVs. Buying cars is not a crime, but being a reckless and irresponsible driver is. We urge people to drive safely. Have valid vehicle insurance, don’t drive if you feel nauseatic, follow all the rules laid out by the state, and be vigilant while driving. 

For people who were injured in a car accident, we will stand by your side and make sure you get the necessary compensation for healthcare or punish the irresponsible behavior of drivers. We encourage you to file a civil or criminal complaint against the wrongdoer.

Back To News

Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law Professor On the OJ Simpson Case

Are car accidents civil or criminal?