Criminal Negligence in a Car Accident

Last updated on: September 12, 2022

Though it is rare, there are several situations where an accident can result from criminal negligence. Even if you did not act on purpose, you can still be held criminally accountable. 

For example, if you see that an oncoming vehicle is about to hit you head-on and you swerve into the next lane, causing several cars to crash in order to avoid getting hit head-on, then the courts can find you criminally negligent. The courts might rule that you took an unjustifiable risk. 

Though this may sound unreasonable to some, there have been cases where courts believed that those actions constituted a gross deviation from the standard caution that a normal person might exercise in a similar situation. 

What Is Negligence?

Negligence involves an act or omission that harms another person. Someone who acts negligently fails to exercise reasonable care that would prevent harm from befalling another person. For example, someone might fail to signal when they change lanes, and that omission can cause foreseeable harm in the form of a car crash. 

Criminal negligence involves the wrongdoer’s intention to act in a way that will result in harm.

Types of Criminal Negligence that Can Lead to Car Accidents

Various types of criminal activities can also cause accidents. When a car accident results from criminal activities, it presents unique legal and financial challenges to those injured in the accident. 

In some cases, the intent was to attack the driver of the targeted vehicle. In other cases, accidents have been known to occur because of random mischief. In either case, these activities are considered criminal offenses.

Drunk Driving

Alcohol affects a driver’s coordination, reaction time, and judgment. Someone who drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be held criminally negligent since the driver should have known that an accident could result from such actions. 

Road Rage

Someone who drives with road rage is certainly acting with intention. Even if that intent is not to harm another person, it is certainly to intimidate the other person. It is also clear that engaging in such driving tactics can foreseeably cause harm to other drivers on the road. 

For example, if you cut a car off on purpose, your intent is likely to make the car behind you brake suddenly. This can easily lead to an accident.

Sabotaging Someone’s Vehicle

If someone sabotages your vehicle such as by tampering with your brakes, he or she could be held criminally negligent. The person intended to harm you by making you unable to stop, and one can foresee how sabotaging a person’s vehicle can potentially cause harm to the driver and others.  

Gunshots Fired in Traffic

Firing gunshots into traffic, whether the defendant aims at a specific person or shoots randomly, also falls under the umbrella of criminal negligence.

Rocks Dropped from Overpasses

Whether the person intends to hit a specific target or not, dropping rocks from an overpass onto cars’ windshields below very likely constitutes a criminally negligent act. The person committing such an act knows or should know that this could cause someone to crash. 

Proving a Driver’s Negligence

If you were a victim of someone else’s negligence, you must be able to prove four things:

1. The other party owed you a duty of care.

2. The other party breached the standard of the duty of care.

3. You received a compensable injury.

4. The other party’s breach of care caused your injury.

If the other party was also a driver, then he or she owed you the level of care that a reasonable person would take while driving. This includes following traffic laws such as the speed limit, stop signs, and traffic lights. If the other driver fails to take such care, he or she likely breached his or her duty of care. 

If the other party was not a driver, he or she should have taken the level of care that an ordinary reasonable person would have taken under similar circumstances. An ordinary reasonable person standing on an overpass would anticipate that dropping rocks onto cars below could cause a crash. 

You must receive an injury of the type for which you can be compensated. If you received a physical and financial injury, you likely meet this category. However, you must be able to show that it was the defendant’s negligent act or omission that caused your injury.

Need Help? Contact Zinda Law Group Today

If you or a loved one were injured or killed in an accident like this, it will be necessary to hire an experienced attorney to pursue compensation from whom you believe is responsible. Be sure to discuss your case with a lawyer as soon as possible, for evidence can be lost.  

A skilled personal injury attorney can help you pursue the maximum available compensation. The car crash lawyers at Zinda Law Group have been helping drivers for years with cases involving criminally negligent drivers. 

Call us today at (800) 863-5312 to schedule a free consultation. We can help you understand your legal rights so you can move forward with confidence.

Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.