When law enforcement and others investigate a car accident to determine fault, there may be more than one factor at play. Uncovering whether a driver was negligent may not be evident until later. Those injured in the accident may not know right away whether they can collect damages from another party.
In a recent five-car collision, further actions authorities took indicate that the initial assessment was only part of the story.
Suffolk County collision kills one
According to the New York Post, a sedan collided with several other vehicles traveling on Nicolls Road. One of the occupants of the vehicles that the sedan struck died at the scene of the collision. The report stated that the driver of the sedan suffered a medical event that caused him to lose control of his vehicle. However, authorities later arrested him for aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
Civil cases pursued in conjunction with criminal proceedings
As this case demonstrates, the negligent operation of a vehicle could result in criminal penalties as well as causing damages that require compensation. Those who sustain injuries may worry that they will have to wait for the criminal proceedings to conclude before they can file a civil claim for their damages. However, this is not the case. Court officials allow for criminal and civil cases dealing with the same incident to occur simultaneously. Even in a case where the negligent party does not receive a conviction for his or her role in an accident, a civil claim may still mandate payment of compensation to accident victims.