Los Angeles Uber Accident Attorney

Fatal Uber Wreck in Los Angeles

September 21, 2023

Fatal Uber Wreck In Los Angeles: The Legal Distinctions Between Criminal And Civil Responsibility

A driver who ran several stoplights at speeds of about 100 mph is criminally responsible for an Uber crash that killed three people. Civil responsibility is another matter.

The Los Angeles Police Department said a 31-year-old man was speeding in a white Mercedes-Benz when he ran multiple red lights before he T-boned the Uber at the intersection of Century Boulevard and Vermont Avenue. Investigators said the Mercedes driver was traveling at speeds of up to 100mph in a 35mph zone. The wreck killed three Uber passengers.

The Mercedes driver had three felony convictions and was on probation related to a murder case at the time of the collision, investigators said. Authorities charged him with three counts of criminally negligent homicide. If convicted, the man could serve three consecutive life sentences.

“It’s almost worse that there isn’t any kind of alcohol or DUI,” remarked LAPD Detective Ryan Moreno. “You’re actually sober and you’re actually driving like that sober? Who’s going to get behind the well and drive 100 mph and run red lights?”

Criminal vs. Civil Court

Some people are familiar with the different burden of proof in criminal and civil claims. The much-hyped O.J. Simpson legal drama highlighted this difference.

A criminal jury listened to the evidence and concluded that Simpson was not guilty of murder. Prosecutors failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. A civil jury heard basically the same evidence and concluded that Simpson committed double murder. A Los Angeles Uber Accident Attorney proved that case by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not), which is a much lower standard of proof.

The purpose of criminal and civil court is different as well. Criminal courts blame offenders. Civil courts don’t “blame” anyone for anything. Instead, they force tortfeasors (negligent drivers) to accept responsibility for their mistakes. As mentioned in the above story, people don’t accidentally drive three times the speed limit and blow through multiple traffic signals. This tortfeasor didn’t intend the result, but he certainly intended the conduct. 

Accepting responsibility usually means compensating victims. Tortfeasors who dent cars should pay to repair the dent. Tortfeasors who seriously or fatally injure people should pay compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Commercial Driver Duty of Care

There’s another difference between criminal courts. When people break laws, they’re liable for punishment in criminal court. When drivers are negligent, they’re liable for damages in civil court. Illegal activity and negligent activity could be two different things.

Uber drivers and other commercial operators in California have a duty of utmost care. They must go the extra mile to avoid collisions. For example, before they go through intersections, they must look both ways and ensure the way is clear. They cannot ignore a speeding motorist, let a collision happen, and blame the crash on the other driver.

In the above story, the Uber driver might or might not have had a chance to avoid the collision. That’s why, no matter who was at fault, a victim should always ask a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer to evaluate a case. Quite simply, victims don’t know how much compensation they may be entitled to until a legal professional weighs in.

Furthermore, the tortfeasor may not be financially responsible for damages, especially if the tortfeasor was a commercial driver. The tortfeasor’s employer must usually write the check, under the respondeat superior rule. Car crash cases are complex. 

Contact Our Experienced Los Angeles Uber Accident AttorneysFor a free consultation with experienced Lyft And Uber Accident Attorney Los Angeles, contact the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start working for you.

Sharona Hakim

Sharona Eslamboly Hakim, Esq. is a successful personal injury attorney and the principal of the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim firm in Beverly Hills, California.

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