On behalf of The Frickey Law Firm, posted on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.
Some Denver drivers might think that intent is the difference between negligence and accidental harm. Carelessness during a motor vehicle accident does not require intent. Few drivers plan to hurt others, but lacking desire to harm someone does not excuse legal responsibility for injuries and deaths.
A Colorado dump truck driver hauling a load of construction equipment struck and killed an elderly bicyclist while turning at a Lefthand Canyon intersection. The auto accident threw the victim several dozen feet. He died at the scene.
The defense attorney and prosecutors agreed the driver never meant to hurt the 73-year-old victim. The sides were in dispute over the defendant’s guilt for careless driving.
Prosecutors asserted the truck driver was heedless of the bicyclist because he neglected to look for cross traffic or hurried to turn without yielding. The defendant’s lawyer said neither was true. He claimed his client’s line of sight was blocked by trees at the dangerous crossroads.
The bicyclist was moving faster than the dump truck at the time of the accident.
Neither vehicle exceeded the 35 mph speed limit. Colorado State Patrol investigators eliminated speeding, impairment and aggressive driving as contributing factors.
The victim’s wife testified to her husband’s stringent safe-cycling habits. An investigating trooper confirmed the driver was crying and distraught after the accident.
A pre-trial judgment barred the prosecution from initiating an in-trial discussion about an earlier road-rage conviction involving the defendant and a cyclist.
The outcome of a Colorado criminal trial may coincide or conflict with a decision in a wrongful death lawsuit. Criminal and civil lawsuits arising from the same accident are tried separately requiring evidence that, respectively, proves a crime was committed or a defendant’s negligence caused harm.
A criminal conviction could equal prison time, fines or other penalties. A verdict against a defendant in a wrongful death action is resolved with damages for suffering accident victims and families.
Source: dailycamera.com, “Attorneys make opening statements in Boulder County truck vs. bike fatal accident,” Mitchell Byars, March 5, 2013