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Accidents can result in both criminal charges and civil lawsuits

Kentucky civil law is different than criminal law in many ways. An action that can be the focus of a criminal case can also be the focus of a civil case.

In some instances, there may be a criminal investigation that results in no filed charges due to lack of evidence sufficient to prove each element of the particular criminal charge. However, at times, when criminal charges are unwarranted, there may still be civil liability involvement.

Automobile and bike accident with no criminal charges

WDRB.com reports that last year, Louisville’s south end saw just such an occurrence. A bicyclist tragically lost his life as a result of an accident at Southern Parkway and Southern Heights.

However, under Kentucky law, a crime related to the death would require criminal intent on the part of the person causing the death. Investigation determined that there was no such intent evident by the other drivers and so authorities did not file charges.

Lawsuit for negligence is still possible when there is no crime

However, if investigated facts or discovery were to show that a party was negligent in some manner and caused the accident and injury, a civil suit for the losses could occur. This is what has been filed in a very serious motor vehicle accident this past summer, according to the Courier-Journal. In that accident, a woman suffered very severe injuries when a tractor-trailer crossed over a barrier into oncoming traffic and collided with multiple vehicles.

In that civil lawsuit, the injured plaintiff does not need to prove criminal elements of a crime, or intentional conduct. The injured plaintiff’s suit instead accuses the driver of negligently operating the tractor-trailer as well as acting grossly negligent.

Negligence lawsuit compensates for certain damages

Unlike when a district attorney pursues a criminal case, in the civil case the plaintiff does not seek a conviction or a jail sentence. Rather, the plaintiff seeks financial remuneration for his or her damages. Such compensation sought may include the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Costs of medical treatment
  • Lost income due to inability to work

The plaintiff can also pursue compensation for likely medical expenses for future medical needs related to the injuries suffered in the accident.

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Walker Wallace PLC
7403 Saint Andrews Church Road
Louisville, KY 40214

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