In Jan. 2012, two bicyclists went out for a ride. At the same time, a man who had been drinking was driving in the same direction. He slammed into them, which killed on of them and seriously injured the other. The fatal accident led to criminal charges being filed against that driver, and he was recently convicted in a Louisiana court.
The crash shattered the pelvis of, and caused other injuries to, the surviving bicyclist. He still has physical struggles and experiences memory and recall issues. Moreover, he can no longer enjoy long rides and has lost a friend.
Prosecutors presented evidence indicating that the driver of the vehicle had a blood alcohol content of .307 on the night of the crash. The legal limit in the state of Louisiana is .08, which means that the driver’s BAC was almost four times that limit. Additional evidence was presented that the responding officers attempted to conduct field sobriety tests, and the man was videotaped admitting that he was unable to perform at least one test.
A jury took less than an hour to find the man guilty. He faces prison time of between five and 30 years. This conviction could be offered as evidence in a wrongful death claim or personal injury claim filed in connection with this fatal accident.
The burden of proof in a civil court, defined as a preponderance of the evidence, is not as stringent as in a criminal proceeding. A criminal conviction can often provide reliable evidence of negligence, which is required to be proved in a civil action. If a party successfully documents negligence, the court may award financial damages recognized by our laws.