The aftermath of any motor vehicle accident can be devastating. People are hurt or killed in accidents that happen in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, many drivers involved in a crash will not face criminal charges for their actions, as this would require proof of gross negligence or "willful or wanton disregard for others" on the part of a driver.
This can be very frustrating for victims and their families who suffer greatly after an accident. In many cases, it is possible for these parties to file a civil claim in order to hold a negligent party accountable for an accident. The family of a Minneapolis man may be considering this option after the 24-year-old rider was killed in a motorcycle accident.
The accident was, no doubt, tragic. A police officer in an SUV was in pursuit of a burglary suspect when he crossed into an intersection in Uptown Minneapolis. As the police car was leaving the intersection with lights and sirens activated, the young motorcyclist drove into the intersection, not noticing the emergency vehicle. He tried to brake to avoid the crash, but his rear wheel locked up and the bike tipped over before crashing into the SUV. He was then reportedly run over by the SUV's back wheel and killed.
Extensive investigation into the crash revealed that both motorists were at least party responsible for the crash, so the officer will not face any criminal charges or disciplinary measures. This is not uncommon. Many investigations into accidents reveal that both parties played at least some role in the crash.
However, this does not mean that victims and their families do not deserve some justice, especially when an accident results in a fatality. There are significant damages that families suffer after a loved one is killed in an accident. And although a court may find that criminal charges are not necessary, family members may be able to pursue a civil claim. This cannot undo the loss or repair the damage suffered, but it can result in financial compensation for family members and the resources they may desperately need to recover from their loss.
Source: Star Tribune, "Minneapolis officer won't face charges in fatal collision with motorcycle," Matt McKinney, Nov. 14, 2013