In 2019, a major motorcycle accident made headlines when a truck crashed into a group of motorcyclists, killing seven. A subsequent investigation found that the driver of the truck was under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident. Federal authorities reported that the crash, which occurred on a rural, two-lane highway, was likely caused by the truck crossing the road’s centerline. The trucking company was seen as at-fault, and authorities reported that the company and its owners had a substantial disregard for safety regulations and were not in compliance with them, which could have led to the crash. Now, almost two years after the crash, the owners of the trucking company have been charged with falsifying records and lying to authorities as the investigation continued.
According to a news article covering the update, the owners, a 35- and 36-year-old man, are alleged to have told at least one employee to falsify records and driving logs in an attempt to evade federal safety regulations. After doing so, they lied about it to a federal inspector. They are now facing criminal charges and may end up spending time behind bars for their actions.
This example illustrates the relationship between civil and criminal lawsuits after Maryland motorcycle accidents. While some people may think that having a lawsuit filed against you is the same no matter what, the two systems are actually different, and an individual may face both types of lawsuits at once. For instance, in the case discussed above, the owners are facing criminal charges. They may also, however, be facing civil charges.
Those injured in the tragic 2019 motorcycle accident, or those whose loved ones were killed, had the option to file a personal injury lawsuit—a civil lawsuit—against the negligent driver and/or the owners of the trucking company the driver worked for. These lawsuits can proceed ahead even while a criminal lawsuit is ongoing. Instead of sentencing the defendants to jail time, however, or another punitive sentence, civil lawsuits result in monetary damages awarded directly to those who were injured or who lost a loved one.
In this way, the focus is on compensating the victims for the harm that was caused to them, rather than punishing the defendants for the harm that they caused. While the relationship between the two types of lawsuits may seem complicated, Maryland families should remember their legal rights to file civil lawsuits even if criminal charges are pending. If they have any questions, they are encouraged to reach out to a Maryland personal injury attorney with experience handling these types of claims and navigating Maryland state law in this area.
Speak with a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has recently suffered serious injuries in a Maryland motorcycle accident, you would be best served by reaching out to a Maryland personal injury attorney right away to discuss your legal rights. Call the law offices of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, to schedule a free, no-risk initial consultation at 800-654-1949. Or, you can fill out our online form an one of our dedicated attorneys will reach out to you shortly.