As most Denver residents are aware, a deadly accident occurred on Interstate 70 near the Colorado Mills mall that has led to criminal charges against a semi-truck driver. Rogel Aguilera-Mederos faces vehicular homicide charges as a result of the April 2019 crash that damaged or destroyed 28 vehicles and killed four people.
Aguilera-Mederos' prior attorney, Robert Corry, has had to step away from the case as he now faces several of his own legal issues, including a charge of DUI, failure to report an accident, careless driving, and leaving the scene of an accident involving injury.
Aguilera-Mederos continues to maintain that his brakes failed during the accident in question, yet prosecutors and other attorneys continue to hold him responsible for the cause of the crash, and therefore, the deaths of those involved.
Criminal Charges vs. Civil Lawsuits: What's the Difference?
Many people often get confused about the difference between a criminal charge following a car accident and civil lawsuits. In very basic terms, a criminal case is for violations of the law, and these cases are brought by the state prosecutor, not the actual victims. The potential penalties include prison time, fines, probation, and more. A criminal case is not meant to compensate the victims directly but punish an offender for criminal conduct.
In a civil case, such as a personal injury lawsuit, it is the victim of the harm that brings the lawsuit with their attorney to seek an award of money damages for injuries caused by the offender. This has nothing to do with jail or prison but deals only with money to compensate the injured victim.
Using a Criminal Conviction as Evidence in a Personal Injury Case
When the situation is right, a criminal conviction can be used as evidence in a personal injury case to help prove that the other driver was responsible for the accident. When a driver is convicted of a criminal act involving a motor vehicle, and that offense required the jury to determine that the driver was the cause of the accident, the jury's determination of fault can be used in the personal injury case to prove it as well.
This is because criminal juries must make findings "beyond a reasonable doubt," while civil lawsuits only require a "preponderance of the evidence standard," a much easier burden of proof. As a higher burden was imposed in the criminal case, and that jury found the driver was the cause of the accident, the law does not require that it be proven all over again to a new jury.
This type of evidence can be invaluable to you and your attorney in your personal injury case. It saves a significant amount of time, effort, and money improving your case. It makes your life easier and helps to ensure that the driver that caused the accident is held responsible for the damages they caused you.
Consult an Experienced Denver Personal Injury Attorney
As the injured victim, you deserve compensation for your injuries. Contact the experienced personal injuries at accidentdenver.com to fight for your rights and get the financial compensation you deserve.