After some accidents, criminal investigations will be initiated to determine whether at-fault motorists were engaged in illegal conduct such as drunk or reckless driving. Still, victims of these accidents will need to pursue compensation for the damages they incur.
Fortunately, in Tennessee, you have the right to file a car accident lawsuit even if there is an ongoing criminal investigation related to your collision. Civil and criminal cases are separate processes, and one does not prohibit the other. While the outcome of the criminal investigation may influence your civil case, a criminal conviction is not a requirement to initiate your car accident lawsuit.
Seek guidance and support from our experienced Tennessee car accident attorneys by calling Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.
Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit During an Ongoing Criminal Investigation in Tennessee
You can file a car accident lawsuit in Tennessee even if there is a criminal investigation ongoing.
In the legal system, a civil lawsuit and a criminal investigation are separate processes, and one does not necessarily preclude the other. Accordingly, you have the right to pursue a car accident lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries and damages caused by the accident, regardless of whether there is a criminal case related to the incident.
It’s important to understand that a criminal investigation focuses on determining whether the at-fault party committed a crime such as reckless driving or driving under the influence. In contrast, a civil lawsuit is about seeking financial compensation for losses that stem from the accident like medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
The outcome of a related criminal case may influence your civil case, as a conviction could be used to support your claim. Still, a criminal conviction it is not a requirement to file your civil lawsuit.
In the aftermath of your crash, our Tennessee personal injury lawyers can guide you through the process of filing a civil claim. After your free case review, we will explain your legal rights and identify the appropriate actions to take.
Criminal Investigations After Car Accidents in Tennessee
When a car accident occurs, the at-fault party may be investigated for several different types of criminal conduct. For example, criminal investigations after car accidents regularly focus on the following:
One situation that may result in a criminal investigation is reckless driving. Reckless driving encompasses various behaviors such as excessive speeding, aggressive lane changes, and other actions that exhibit a disregard for the safety of others on the road.
Driving Under the Influence
Another scenario involves an investigation for driving under the influence (DUI). Operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs is a grave offense. If a car accident involves an impaired driver, it frequently initiates a criminal DUI investigation, which may result in charges against the driver for impaired operation of a vehicle.
Hit and Run
Hit and run incidents are also subject to criminal investigations. Leaving the scene of an accident without stopping to provide necessary information or aid to the other party involved is considered a criminal offense. Hit-and-run cases are thoroughly investigated to identify the responsible driver and hold them accountable.
In cases where a car accident leads to a fatality, a criminal investigation may focus on potential charges of vehicular homicide. This occurs when the actions of the at-fault driver are deemed to have directly caused the death of another person. Vehicular homicide investigations aim to determine if the driver’s conduct warrants criminal charges for the tragic outcome.
Time Limit to File a Car Accident Lawsuit After an Accident in Tennessee
If you suffered an accident in Tennessee, you will generally have one year from the date of the collision to file your car accident lawsuit. This deadline is set forth by T.C.A. § 28-3-104 and will be applied regardless of the presence or progress of any criminal investigation. If you fail to bring your case to court on time, then you may miss your chance to recover important monetary damages.
Furthermore, the evidence needed to support your case can become hard to preserve or collect as time goes on. As an example, a witness may forget an important detail pertaining to your crash. Further, a piece of physical evidence may begin to deteriorate. The more quickly you begin working on your case, the more efficient the collection of evidence will be.
How Our Attorneys Can Use a Criminal Conviction to Strengthen Your Car Accident Case in Tennessee
When the at-fault driver in your accident is criminally convicted for their misconduct, our Murfreesboro, TN car accident attorneys can use that conviction to significantly strengthen your car accident case.
Firstly, a criminal conviction serves as a powerful validation of the at-fault driver’s negligence. It demonstrates that the driver has been found guilty of violating the law, which is a compelling argument in favor of your claim. This can be especially beneficial when it comes to establishing liability and demonstrating the driver’s fault for your accident.
Secondly, a criminal conviction can have a direct impact on the payment you receive. For instance, a conviction may allow you to recover increased compensation for medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Additionally, in rare cases, punitive damages may be awarded to punish at-fault motorists for their egregious behavior and discourage similar conduct in the future. A criminal conviction may be considered when determining whether it is appropriate to award such damages in your case.
In summary, a criminal conviction can significantly benefit your car accident case by providing strong evidence of the at-fault driver’s negligence and bolstering your position in seeking compensation. Our legal team can help use a conviction to your advantage, ensuring that you receive the maximum amount of damages available in your case.
Call Our Car Accident Attorneys for Assistance with Your Case in Tennessee
Get help from our experienced Nashville car accident lawyers at Howe Law by dialing (844) 876-4357.