A few years back in Candiac, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal, a motorcyclist and his young daughter were killed after they rear-ended another driver who had stopped her vehicle in the middle of the road to escort crossing ducks. According to a recent local news report, the woman was charged with several criminal offenses that carried with them a potential life-prison sentence. However, she was only sentenced to 90 days and a 10-year license suspension.
Evidently, back in 2010, the woman was driving in the left-most lane of the highway when she saw seven ducklings crossing the road. She stopped her Honda Civic in the middle of the lane to ensure that the ducklings could safely pass. However, as she was stopped a motorcyclist ran into the back of her, ejecting the driver and his passenger. Both were pronounced dead shortly after the accident.
Just this year a Canadian jury returned a verdict of guilty of two counts of criminal negligence causing death and one count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death. The maximum penalty for these charges was life in prison. However, the sentencing judge determined that 90 days was a sufficient jail sentence and sentenced her accordingly.
The family of the victims told reporters that the woman never personally apologized for her role in the accident, although she did make a public apology. The family members were hoping for a more severe sentence, but they did not get their wish. It is uncertain whether the family will be pursuing civil charges against the woman for her role in the fatal accident that took their loved ones’ lives.
Criminal Culpability Versus Civil Liability
The case described above took place in Canada. However, the Canadian and American justice systems are similar in that there is a criminal and a civil side. In the case above, the woman was facing criminal charges brought by the government. If the families of the accident victims decided to bring a case against the woman alleging that she was at fault for the wrongful death of their loved ones, that must be brought in a civil court of law.
Civil courts are not bound by criminal court decisions, since there are different burdens of proof in each. In criminal courts, guilt must be established beyond a reasonable doubt. However, in civil courts proof by a preponderance of the evidence is sufficient to prove a case. If you have been involved in an accident, contact a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney to learn more about how you may be able to recover for your injuries.
Have You Been Involved in a Maryland Motorcycle Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a serious Maryland motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to monetary damages. The skilled advocates at the Maryland law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have decades of experience bringing all kinds of Maryland personal injury actions, including those arising out of motorcycle accidents. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free initial consultation with an attorney to discuss your case.
More Blog Posts:
Questionable Police Chase Results in Several Serious Injuries, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published December 4, 2014.
Hit-and-Run Accident Victim Struck While on Bike, Lucky To be Alive, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published November 12, 2014.