Money Damages Are Sometimes Only Justice Available
The family of a man and baby who were killed, and a young woman who was injured in an October 2015 car crash at the intersection of State Road 436 and State Road 434 are understandably upset to learn that the Seminole County State Attorney’s office has chosen not to prosecute the 75-year old woman who caused the fatal and tragic crash. However, justice can still be done for this family. The prosecutor’s decision highlights the difference between the criminal justice system and the civil justice system, and the differing legal standards and standards of proof that apply to each. According to an article on the ClickOrlando.com website, Seminole County State Attorney Phil Archer has elected not to press charges against Cynthia Guthrie because he does not believe his office can prove – beyond a reasonable doubt (the criminal law standard of proof) – that Ms. Guthrie is guilty of willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others, or that she acted with reckless disregard. Because the State Attorney is not prosecuting Ms. Guthrie, it means that she does not risk jail time or probation. However, this does not mean that Ms. Guthrie will avoid all responsibility for the crash. Under our civil justice system, Ms. Guthrie can still face liability for causing the accident. However, her liability under the civil system is financial (i.e. paying money damages), not the loss of her physical freedom. In a civil case arising from a car crash, an injured party, or the surviving family member of someone who has been tragically killed, only needs to prove that the driver was negligent in order to win. Not only that, but the injured party does not need to prove his or her case beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, the injured party only has to prove that it is more likely than not that the driver was negligent or careless. Obviously, it is much easier to prove a civil case for negligence than a criminal case. This is good because it gives accident victims an effective way of holding negligent or careless drivers accountable – even when the criminal justice system won’t. We do this all of the time for our clients. If you have any questions following a Florida car accident or wrongful death case, call Winter Park car accident attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901 or visit our main website by clicking here. We are a small, boutique law firm that has recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients. All […]
Familiar Story With Florida Wrong Way Driver
Everyone likes to be proven right. Unfortunately, Florida wrong-way drivers keep doing it to/or me. Check out this story from Orlando Sentinel. A man with a Texas driver license was stopped on State Road 408 heading eastbound in the westbound lanes of travel. Luckily a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper was heading east in the proper lanes, and saw the wrong way driver. She tried to signal him to pull over or turn around but the wrong way driver ignored her. Eventually the Trooper turned around, caught up to the wrong way driver and pulled him over. She found him reeking of alcohol and began to question him. The driver allegedly admitted that he had consumed six beers while watching a football game at a downtown sports bar. The driver was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. Fortunately, this time nobody was injured – or killed. As I have written several times before, this story is altogether too common. In virtually every wrong way accident crash case I have ever handled, the driver has been impaired by alcohol or drugs. The tragedy is that these cases almost always often feature the very worst injuries or wrongful death because the result of the wrong way drivers’ decision-making is usually a head-on crash. It would be my hope that I am never right about these wrong way crashes again, but I doubt it. If you have been involved in a crash involving a wrong way driver, or driver that was impaired or intoxicated, we would be happy to answer any questions you have by providing you with a free consultation with an experienced attorney. Simply call Winter Park car accident attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901.
Dump Truck Owner May Have To Pay After SunRail Crash
In Florida, the owner of a motor vehicle is ultimately responsible for any damages caused by the operation of the vehicle. One Central Florida dump truck owner could be on the hook for a lot more than he ever bargained for. The Orlandosentinel.com website actually has the video taken directly from the SunRail train (watch it here) that shows a dump truck parked way too close to the train tracks for the train to pass safely by. The train engineer does the best he can to slow and/or stop the train, but the truck is just too close to the tracks and there is an obvious collision. According to the article, at least seven (7) SunRail passengers were taken to local hospitals with injuries – hopefully minor ones. In the event that any of these passengers have lingering, long-term physical problems, the ones that do likely have viable personal injury claims against the owner of the dump truck, and perhaps the driver who parked the dump truck, too. The injured passengers could collect money for their medical bills, lost wages, and even pain and suffering. Many SunRail passengers ride the train to avoid the risk of a car crash on Interstate 4, or Central Florida’s other major roads. They probably never dreamed they would be involved in a SunRail crash. If you have any questions following a Florida motor vehicle accident — even one involving a SunRail train or other non-highway vehicle, call Winter Park personal injury lawyers Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill. We represent clients from across Florida. Every consultation is FREE and no-obligation. Call us at 407-254-4901, or visit our website at cullen-hemphill.com