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Bus crashes are the latest transportation worry

An early morning bus crash in Baltimore this month has piqued the worry of workers who rely on public transportation. The accident led to six deaths and 10 injuries, both of which are alarming numbers, but that doesn't tell the whole story related traffic accidents.

The good news for the one in 10 Americans who rely on mass transit, if you will, is that motor vehicle fatalities are 16 times less likely than your chances of having a heart attack. Often times, news media outlets will cherry pick extreme emotional responses to gain empathy and prey on inner subconscious fears. Changing personal habits due to one non-patterned catastrophic event is not good for your mental or emotional wellbeing.

While distorted presentation might sway our perceptions, that doesn't diminish the personal anguish you might experience when someone you know is affected by an auto accident. Although the government 'owns' public transportation, that doesn't necessarily affect your ability to seek justice or relief as a citizen.

The difference between criminal and civil relief

Sometimes fatal bus accidents can result in both criminal and civil action. Certain factors like intoxication of a driver or the bus company's failure to comply with regulations can result in criminal charges. If this is the case, a prosecutor will bring up charges against the bus driver or transportation company on behalf of the public.

However, that shouldn't stop you from seeking compensation as an individual injured in an accident. A civil case by, you, the citizen, can be filed separately from public criminal charges. While a criminal trial is focused on justice for the public, a civil case is focused on compensation for potentially negligent acts committed against you as an individual.

Burden of proof

Because criminal and civil cases differ in their goals, so does the burden of proof and evidence necessary to prove wrongdoing. In a criminal case, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant, the person facing charges, is guilty of a wrongful act. In a civil case, the party bringing the case to court, the plaintiff, only has to prove that the defendant was negligent based on 'preponderance of the evidence.'

While 'beyond a reasonable doubt' in a criminal case focuses on near 100 percent certainty that the defendant committed a crime, 'preponderance of the evidence' in a civil case says the defendant 'more likely than not' was negligent in his or her acts.

What does this mean for me?

The lower burden of proof in a civil case allows for you as an injured party to not only get compensation but to tell your story in front of a judge. A personal injury attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. There is a path to right the wrongs of negligence beyond criminal charges.

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Price Law Firm, P.A.
644 East Washington Street
Greenville, SC 29601

Phone: 864-501-9627
Fax: 864-242-6560
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