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Civil versus Criminal Charges for Damage Resulting from a Car Accident

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You are probably familiar with the term “damages” as it relates to car accidents. Damages are the expenses that an individual faces as the result of an accident, such as damage to his or her vehicle or expenses that arise as a result of his or her injury, such as medical bills and reduced quality of life. When an individual seeks compensation for these damages, he or she does so through a civil claim known as a personal injury claim. If another party is found to have caused the damages through negligence, that party’s insurance provider may be required to compensate the victim for his or her damages.

It is also possible to cause a car accident through criminal negligence and face criminal charges as a result. For example, driving while under the influence of alcohol is illegal and if you are found to have caused a car accident because you drove drunk, you can face both a criminal charge and a civil charge. If you are facing a criminal charge following a collision, speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to determine the right strategy for your case.

Punitive Damages Following a Car Accident

Punitive damages are damages awarded to a victim to punish an offender for his or her misconduct. In a car accident case, they may be awarded if the offender was intoxicated or acting with extreme aggression, putting his or her safety as well as the safety of others at risk when the accident occurred. However, these are not criminal penalties and may be awarded without a guilty verdict.

Criminal Penalties for Hit and Run Incidents in Florida

Leaving the scene of a car accident where injury, death, or property damage occurred is a criminal offense. This is known as a hit and run.

Drivers who are found guilty of hit and run can face penalties that include jail time, fines, and revocations of their driver’s licenses, depending on the results of the collision.

What to Do Following a Car Accident

Whatever you do, do not leave the scene of the accident without taking acknowledging it to the other driver. This is not the same as admitting to fault – it is merely admitting that you were involved in the accident. Even in the most minor of collisions, the responsible party must make an effort to located the owner of the damaged vehicle to exchange insurance information if he or she is not in the vehicle at the time of the accident. If you cannot locate this individual, leave a note with your name and contact information in a conspicuous place on the vehicle.

Work with an Experienced Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are facing a criminal charge of any type, be sure to start working on your case’s defense strategy with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. To get started, contact our team of Miami criminal defense lawyers at Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today to set up your initial consultation in our office.

Resources:

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0768/Sections/0768.72.html

flhsmv.gov/safety-center/driving-safety/hitrun/

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