Late last month, a New Mexico man was killed after a motorcycle accident near Ector County. According to news reports, the driver of a Chevrolet was driving south on Loop 338, near Odessa. Evidently, the Chevrolet driver crossed the lanes into oncoming traffic. While crossing into the opposite lane, he slammed into a Harley Davidson motorcycle.
When medical personnel arrived, they immediately declared that the motorcyclist had passed away as a result of his severe injuries. The driver of the Chevrolet was transported to Medical Center Hospital, and as of the most recent report he is he still hospitalized and in serious condition. State Police are still investigating the accident to determine whether any charges should be filed.
Are Criminal Charges in New Mexico Necessary To Succeed on a Civil Suit in New Mexico?
In many situations, a car accident, especially one that results in a fatality, will lead to criminal charges against the culpable party. In some circumstances, the criminal charges are because the culpable party was driving under the influence or acting in a particularly egregious or unlawful manner. However, there are certain situations when no criminal charges are filed or when the alleged wrongdoer was found not guilty of criminal charges by a judge or jury. Although, a criminal charge and conviction makes a civil suit more likely to be successful, it is not a prerequisite.
Civil Standard vs. Criminal Standard in New Mexico
The burden of proof is different in civil cases than in criminal cases. First, in a criminal case, the state must establish that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, in a civil case, the plaintiff only needs to establish liability by a preponderance of the evidence. This is generally done by showing that the plaintiff suffered compensable damages as a result of the defendant’s negligent conduct.
Another key difference between civil cases and criminal cases is the intent that is required in these cases. In criminal cases, the state needs to show that not only did the defendant commit the crime but also they possessed the requisite “criminal intent.” By contrast, in a civil case, the culpable party may be held responsible for the damages even if they did not intentionally commit the act.
Have You or a Loved One Been Injured In an Automobile Accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a New Mexico automobile accident, it is imperative that you contact an experienced attorney to assist you in your claim. As you can see, there are significant differences between criminal cases and civil cases, and these distinctions are extremely important in developing your case. An experienced and dedicated attorney at the Fine Law Firm can help you establish your case. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your injuries, including payments for your past medical bills and future medical expenses related to the accident. Contact the Fine Law Firm at 505-889-FINE to schedule your free initial consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Family of Man Killed by New Mexico Police Office Files Suit, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, April 1, 2015.
State Supreme Court Remands Truck Accident Case For New Trial Due to Evidentiary Issue, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, May 12, 2015.