People should be aware that the determination of cause in a criminal suit involving a car accident can also have an effect on any civil action that follows.
A recent case in Allentown, Pennsylvania, led to the guilty plea of the driver of a snowplow in a incident at the beginning of this year that left a pedestrian seriously injured. The 49-year-old driver pled guilty to a felony charge of causing an accident involving an injury while not properly licensed.
The defendant reportedly struck a 20-year-old woman with a snowplow that was attached to the front of a pickup truck. According to witnesses, the defendant stopped the vehicle after the incident, looked at the victim and continued driving. The woman was rushed to a hospital, where she was listed in critical condition, and the defendant was found through his license plate number, which was provided to the police by witnesses.
The defendant first claimed to police that he knew he had hit something and fled the scene due to a suspended driver's license. He later changed the story, claiming that he was unsure of having hit anything at all.
Hit and run is never acceptable. Drivers have an obligation to try and render aid if they have caused an accident. And at the very least, they need to call police and inform them of the accident. The man's guilty plea could help the victim if she plans on filing a personal injury lawsuit to seek damages that can help her cover the cost of her medical bills.
Sources: The Morning Call, "Allentown man pleads guilty to hitting pedestrian with snowplow," Sept. 7, 2012