On behalf of The Frickey Law Firm, posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2013.
Laws disagree with the belief that actions or inactions must be intentional for them to be negligent. Denver drivers who are caught running red lights usually receive fines. The infraction is often viewed as an inconvenience that adds points to a driver’s license and increases insurance premiums. In fact, the behavior is negligent whether or not the driver acted deliberately.
The same mistake takes on a new meaning when a blown red light causes an auto accident involving catastrophic injuries or death. Does it matter whether the accused driver meant to run the light? Intent does affect the severity of charges, but “failure to use reasonable care” — with or without a conscious decision to ignore a traffic signal — is negligence.
A father of four described as sociable and hard-working died last month when a car rear-ended the Yellow Cab he was driving. An elderly passenger in the taxi was critically injured when it was hit by a Buick traveling at what police said was excessive speed.
The collision in the 30 mph zone was violent enough to flip the Buick onto its roof. The identity of the car’s driver was initially hard to determine. Investigators arrived on the accident scene to find that the occupants of the Buick were no longer inside the vehicle.
As it turned out, there were three occupants of the Buick, and all three were injured. The driver was identified at the hospital. One passenger remained under medical care. The third occupant was treated, released and arrested on unrelated warrants. Police did not identify the passengers other than to state they were witnesses.
Denver police felt certain that enough early evidence existed to file vehicular assault and homicide charges.
A civil court might determine the Buick driver acted recklessly with intent, which would benefit the plaintiffs’ wrongful death claim. Proof that negligence was purposeful could increase compensation awarded to the accident victim’s family.
Source: thedenverchannel.com, “Police arrest hospitalized woman for fatal crash with Yellow Cab driver” Lance Hernandez, Apr. 29, 2013