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Civil liability for deliberate car crashes, P.1

Hit-and-run accidents can and do occur, and when they do, it is important for victims to work with local police to help investigate the incident and, if possible, pursue criminal charges against hit-and-run drivers, but also to put themselves in a position to hold the individual liability for their own injuries and losses.

Many hit and run cases, of course, happen by accident. In many cases, the hit-and-run driver flees from the scene simply out of shock and fear for what they’ve done or because they aren’t insured sufficiently or at all. In some cases, hit-and-run accidents are more intentional. That may have been the case with an accident that took place last month in Colorado Springs. The accident occurred when a Jeep Grand Cherokee struck a bicyclist. 

Not much is known about the accident, but police are saying that the hit-and-run crash was “deliberate,” though it isn’t clear what is meant by that. Whether or not the driver fully intended to hit the bicyclist is not clear. In any case, the incident does raise the question of what form of liability would apply in such a case.

Most car accidents, of course, are just that—accidents. Car accidents cases are typically based on the theory of negligence, in one form or another, which essentially involves the accusation that the defendant failed to operate his or her vehicle in a reasonably safe manner under the circumstances. There are various ways to demonstrate negligence, but the basic idea is that the crash was a mistake. What type of civil liability would apply, then, if it was evident that the crash was not a mistake, but deliberate? We’ll look at this issue in our next post. 

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