Most truck accident cases are civil actions. Accident cases are brought against truck drivers (and the trucking company) in order to win compensation and get justice for the loss. Compensation is won through civil actions, including personal injury and wrongful death. If a trucker committed an illegal act (such as drinking and driving), he may be charged in a criminal case; however, the victim must still file a civil claim to get payment for his crash injuries.
Here are a few things that can determine criminal or civil charges in a truck accident case:
- Injury cases. Many victims who are injured in trucking accidents suffer injuries far beyond the coverage of their insurance limits. Victims usually file a personal injury case, a type of civil suit, to get compensation for financial, medical, and property losses. If one of more victims suffered death or a permanent injury, the family may be able to sue the trucking company for a substantial amount beyond the documented accident costs.
- Civil charges. In addition to injury compensation, civil charges can bring negative attention to the parties who played a part in the accident, including the truck driver, the trucking company, a loading company, maintenance company, or any other person who was partly responsible for your injuries. A judge can order the parties to pay an additional amount (called punitive damages) to a family as punishment for its negligence, as well as court-order the parties to make necessary changes in their businesses to prevent similar accidents in the future.
- Criminal charges. In some cases, such as when drunk or distracted driving is involved, a truck driver can face criminal charges as well as civil charges. The criminal charges will typically only fall on the party who has broken the law (the driver), while the civil claim is brought against the employer and other negligent parties.
Have you been injured in a truck accident? If so you should speak with an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 for your free consultation today.