The vast majority of all car accidents do not result in immediate prosecution or criminal charges. This can change over the course of an investigation. Were you responsible for causing a major car accident? There are a number of reasons you should worry about criminal liability — and remember, either way you could be sued for personal injury in civil court. Here’s what you need to know.
First and foremost, always stay at the scene of the accident as long as it’s safe! There is no leeway given to perpetrators of hit-and-run accidents, even if you weren’t the person responsible for causing the collision. Panic is not a viable legal defense, regardless of how many people give in to it and flee.
Another obvious reason that a person might be arrested after a car accident is if they were driving under the influence. This has nothing to do with who caused the car accident (even though it’s more likely the person drinking did), so never drink and drive.
Reckless driving is also a reason for police to make an arrest. This might mean a person was on the phone, texting while driving, swerving for no reason, or driving over the speed limit. Even if this person was not at fault, they can still be arrested or sued for reckless driving if the negligence made the accident worse.
Are the police trying to pull you over? Never run! They will catch you sooner or later, and criminal charges will result. It also makes a car accident far more likely — and if you get into a car accident while running from the police, you’re in hot water.
Vehicular manslaughter is a common charge after a car accident. It’s not enough to be found at fault for the crash. The prosecutors will need to prove that a person was negligent enough to cause the fatality. This isn’t always easy to do unless there were other factors such as alcohol or drugs.