Manitoba Truck Driver Faces Charges After 12-Vehicle Collision on Hwy 400
A 35-year old truck driver from Winnipeg, Manitoba is facing four charges of criminal negligence causing death, as well as one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, arising out of a fiery twelve vehicle crash that killed four people in June 2016. Three of the twelve vehicles involved were transport trucks. The collision created a fire so intense that it caused some parts of the highway to melt. The OPP described the crash as “absolutely preventable”.
In addition to facing these four criminal charges, the truck driver will also most likely face a civil lawsuit from the families of the victims.
Differences Between Criminal and Civil Liability for Driving Offences
In the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident, a personal injury lawyer can help an accident victim, or the loved ones of an accident victim, recover damages and obtain compensation through a civil action. This is a different process than a criminal trial, and has important distinctions.
First and foremost, a civil case involves the injured driver (or the family of the driver, if there has been a death) and the at-fault driver. In contrast, a criminal trial involves the Crown (i.e. the prosecutor) and the at-fault driver.
Secondly, the burden of proof in a civil case is lower than in a criminal trial. Whereas the evidence and specific circumstances of an incident may not always support a criminal charge or conviction, the same evidence is more likely to result in a finding of civil liability and therefore an award of damages for the victim and their family.
Lastly, civil claims result in monetary damages awarded to the victim and/or their family, whereas criminal charges will result in a license suspension, fine (payable to the government), probation, or jail time for the driver.
Possible Outcomes of Civil Proceedings Against an At-Fault Driver
A truck driver who injures or kills someone may be subject to a personal injury lawsuit filed by the injured person or their family, in the case of a death. They may also be subject to a separate insurance claim.
In a personal injury action, the first step in seeking recovery is establishing the driver’s liability (i.e. fault). In the simplest terms, negligence in an automobile or trucking accident involves not obeying driving rules and not driving reasonably under the circumstances. Liability can be established through witness statements (from parties involved in the accident, or bystanders), police reports, accident reconstruction reports, and similar other reports.
An injured party would then claim for all injuries and damages suffered in the accident (which would likely end up being covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance company). These claims could include compensation for medical treatment, pain and suffering caused by the crash, missed time at work, and any other related financial losses.
The family of a deceased victim could claim loss of companionship and guidance, as well as a dependency loss (i.e. losses experienced due to loss of contribution the deceased would have made to family income). Any such awards would be decided based on what the Court deemed to be reasonable.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a trucking accident, a personal injury lawyer can assist you in filing a civil personal injury claim. Contact Derfel Injury Law to meet with one of our experienced who will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible resolution to your trucking accident claim. Call us at 416-847-3580 to schedule a visit.