What Constitutes Criminal Negligence in a Spinal Cord Injury Case?

What Constitutes Criminal Negligence in a Spinal Cord Injury Case?

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There are many ways someone can become paralyzed, and one of the most maddening are spinal cord injuries caused by someone else’s mistake or inaction, otherwise known as criminal negligence. Mistakes happen all of the time, but many can be prevented and this can be proven in the court of law. 

For example, a business-owner can become lackadaisical in caring for their business, causing an injury to their customers, or a person can act recklessly, such as speeding on the freeway causing a serious car crash that injures another individual. Spinal cord injuries caused by criminal negligence happens often.

This is why it is important to find a lawyer with experience litigating spinal cord injury cases caused by criminal negligence. Proving someone is criminally negligent is more difficult when compared to a civil case. For those injured due to criminal negligence, it is critical their case is pursued.

While civil cases are more common after a spinal cord injury, if someone is criminally responsible, a separate criminal negligence case should be filed. No one should get away with directly causing a spinal cord injury due to inaction, not paying attention, or sheer stupidity. Paralysis is a permanent, life-changing, debilitating condition. Read on to learn more about negligence.


Negligence 101

Negligence is one of the oldest theories of law. Technically, negligence is failure to exercise caution that a “reasonably prudent” person would otherwise do in the same situation. Although each state is entitled to their own state laws on negligence, most state laws on negligence are very similar to one another. 

Also, professionals, such as doctors, are held to a higher standard in the court of law due to their education and expertise. The law expects experts in their field to act more professional, as well as be more cautious and have the skills they need to be successful. Lawyers, doctors, engineers and other professionals are considered experts. Here are some inactions or actions professionals can be found guilty of when it comes to negligence:

– A pilot flying a commercial plane while intoxicated

– A lawyer not filing paperwork on time on behalf of their clients, causing their case to be dismissed

– A construction business improperly installing a light fixture, and it falls, severely injuring someone


When a Case Turns Criminal

Not every negligence case means the defendant should go to prison for their crime, or that it is a criminal case. More often than not, a civil negligence case will remain a civil case. For a civil case to have a separate criminal case, the defendant’s negligence should be so gross or terrible that a criminal case must be filed. Criminal negligence in the world of spinal cord injuries can include the following:

  • A hunter is accidentally shot by a fellow hunter not following protocols
  • A motorcyclist races on the road, causing an injury to another driver
  • A person is injured by a police officer choke hold


Criminal Cases Are Different

If you decide to file a criminal negligence case, this case will be tried separately from your civil case/lawsuit case. To win this case, you will need adequate proof that shows “beyond a reasonable doubt” the defendant is guilty. In criminal cases that are based on negligence, if the defendant is found not guilty, this does not mean they are not guilty. It simply means there was not enough evidence to prove the case.

Also, since it is a criminal negligence case, your lawyer cannot independently prosecute the case. A district attorney or an assistant attorney must do so instead. It is a good idea to provide evidence of your case to police to improve your chances of winning your case. You must also be willing to participate in your case for the prosecutors to pursue charges.

Remember, a criminal negligence case is about doing what is right and not about the financial reward. For many, the criminal element case is about feeling vindicated. Knowing the guilty party is sent to prison for their gross inaction can be incredibly healing. The criminal ruling can help the civil case as well. People will often receive more money in their civil lawsuit if they win their criminal case.


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