Little ‘fender-benders’ and minor rear-end collisions are common for American drivers, but nobody wants to think the worse possible car accident: one where someone loses their life. Unfortunately, it happens every day. The National Safety Council estimates that around 40,100 people were killed in car accidents in 2017 alone. When a driver is possibly at fault, criminal charges can happen. So, what is your situation?
I Was Driving Drunk
Drunk driving is taken extremely seriously, especially when it ends in a fatality. You would likely be charged with a DUI and manslaughter, often second degree or involuntary manslaughter. Typically this could mean substantial fines, jail time for at least 5-10 years, and repercussions for your driver’s license.
I Was Driving Irresponsibly (Road Rage, Distracted, Speeding, Sleepy)
Distracted driving, driving while tired, speeding, and other irresponsible driving practices that end in a fatal accident could lead to you being charged with vehicular manslaughter. Although there are different degrees of vehicular manslaughter, a few of them could result in jail. Typically, jail time is not implemented for minor unfortunate distraction cases like fiddling with the radio or putting on makeup. Irresponsible driving like drag racing could be a different story.
My Car Malfunctioned
Auto defects can occur, in which case the manufacturer or a recently utilized mechanic may be legally to blame. Cases can vary. For example, if you were actively aware a recall was put out on your vehicle because of a dangerous flaw from manufacturing, and you didn’t bring it in to be fixed or replaced as offered by the manufacturer, you could be liable for negligence.
It Was Just A Fluke Accident
Accidents sadly happen. You don’t see another car coming around a corner, or someone’s tires slip on a patch of ice. It happens, and sometimes, it tragically can lead to a fatality. If everyone involved was driving responsibly and the accident was, well, an accident, then typically no charges are filed, and an auto accident lawyer doesn’t even need to get involved.
Remember to stay at the scene of an accident until law enforcement and/or medical help arrives. If you think any blame is going to be cast on you, seek the help of an experienced auto accident lawyer immediately to set your case straight.