No matter who you are or where you live in the United States, as an American citizen, you are responsible for upholding the law of the land, regardless of whether or not you know what those laws mean. Therefore, when someone (knowingly or unknowingly) breaks the law and causes a traffic accident, he or she can be taken to civil court to determine if liability falls on their account.
Determining Fault in Personal Injury Cases & Criminal Cases
A criminal court case and a civil court case have similar objectives—to determine if an entity is at fault for the stated action.
However, there are critical differences between civil court cases and criminal court cases when determining fault
- Criminal court juries must decide if a defendant is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
- Civil court juries must determine if a defendant is liable based on a “preponderance of the evidence.”
In criminal cases, a jury must decide if the charged is 100% guilty of a crime. If there is any reason to suspect that the defendant did not commit the crime, the jury should determine the defendant as “not guilty.”
While criminal cases are strict in their determination of responsibility, civil court cases are much more lenient in making a verdict. In personal injury cases, a jury only needs to determine if the defendant is “more likely than not” responsible for the accident in question. Therefore, when juries assess liability, they merely need to determine the defendant 51% liable for the incident.
All that to say, determining liability in personal injury lawsuits is much easier than determining guilt in criminal court cases.
Why Should I Pursue Justice in a Personal Injury Case?
As you can see, determining liability in personal injury lawsuits is not a strict process. In fact, the plaintiff may be found somewhat liable for the incident, but as long as the defendant is found to be 51% responsible, the plaintiff should be able to recover. Therefore, talking to a practiced personal injury attorney about the circumstances of your injury can help you decide if pursuing a case is the right choice.