Pedestrian Killed in a Dallas Hit-and-Run Car Accident
- March 25, 2015
- Car Accidents
On March 15, 2015, one man was killed by a car while he attempted to cross the street in Lake Highlands. The driver who hit the man left the scene and attempted to abandon the car to avoid legal liability. Apparently the driver hit the pedestrian, who smashed through the front window of the vehicle, but the driver kept driving. The pedestrian slid under the car, and the car continued to drive with the man’s body dragging along the pavement underneath.
The vehicle was badly damaged, so the vehicle must have hit the man at a relatively high speed. The hood is extremely dented, the window is pushed in and sagging, and the top of the vehicle is crinkled to the point of sticking up in the air. A man saw the driver fleeing from his parked car at around 8 a.m. on Sunday morning. The driver abandoned the car at the 6900 block of Colfax Drive. Presumably, the man called the police because of the driver’s suspicious activity. The witness could tell something was going on because the driver was definitely not dressed for a morning jog.
Police are charging the driver with an “Accident Involving Death,” which is a second degree felony. In addition to the criminal charges, however, the victim’s family could initiate a wrongful death lawsuit against this driver. In fact, even if the police had not charged the driver with anything, the victim’s family would still have a claim.
Criminal Law vs Civil Law Standard of Proof
Criminal law and civil law have different standards of proof. A standard of proof is the level of “believability” that the prosecution or the plaintiff must present to the trier of fact (the judge or the jury) to convince them that the wrong occurred. For criminal matters, the standard is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is high standard of proof that attempts to be sure that criminal convictions are usually correct. For civil cases, on the other hand, the standard is “a preponderance of the evidence.” That means that the evidence just has to show that it was more likely than not that fault was the defendant’s.
In cases like these, where there may be both a criminal and a civil trial, the criminal trial will usually take place first. Then, the criminal case can be used as evidence in the civil case to meet the preponderance of the evidence standard. If he is convicted, then showing that the evidence is more likely than not is much easier than without a conviction. Of course, the same does not apply if the civil case goes first because the standard of proof is lesser in the civil trial.
A wrongful death case will help the family obtain damages for their loved one’s pain and suffering, funeral expenses, medical expenses, lost wages, and damages related to the suffering and sadness that occurs with the loss of any loved one. If you have experienced the loss of a loved one because of an accident, then you should discuss your legal options with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as practical.