Being involved in a fatal car accident is a very confusing a scary time. If law enforcement proves you caused the accident, you could be facing many charges against you including reckless driving and vehicular homicide. It's important to know your rights and retain a good lawyer. No one should have to sit in jail for an accident. If you were recently involved in a fatal crash, or just want to know what to do if it ever happens, here is some advice on what to do after the fact; along with some charges that you could be facing.
Whenever you watch crime shows, you see police tell someone they've arrested that they have the right to remain silent. That is part of your Miranda rights, and it is absolutely true. It's better to stay quiet than say something that could hurt you later in court. The police will write down everything that you say to them, and it could be used against you later on. Even if you are just telling the police it was an accident and you're sorry, you are still admitting fault. Don't say anything until you have a lawyer such as Mac Greco Jr PA present.
Wait to File Your Insurance Claim
Different states have a different statute of limitations when it comes to filing an auto insurance claim. The statute of limitations is the amount of time you legally have to file the claim after the accident occurred. You have a right to wait and file anytime within your state's statute of limitations. Speak to your lawyer before filing your insurance claim.
If an insurance representative calls you, don't answer or tell him or her you will call back. Anything you say to the insurance representative can be used against you in court just like law enforcement. Your lawyer will either coach you for your conversation with your insurance company, or tell you to wait to file until after court proceedings are over.
Types of Charges
You could be facing several different charges depending on the specifics of the accident. Here are some common charges brought against people in fatal car accident cases.
This charge means that you caused death while driving your automobile illegally. Illegal driving could mean speeding, reckless driving, and/or driving while intoxicated. Vehicular manslaughter could result in either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the severity and circumstances. A misdemeanor can result in just a fine or up to a year in county jail. A felony will result in a sentence in state prison. This charge is basically involuntary manslaughter with a vehicle.
Death Due to DUI/DWI
If the car accident occurred while you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you could be facing DUI charges. While these charges alone are bad enough, the charges along with a fatal car accident could bring much harsher punishment by a judge. Police cannot charge you with a DUI or DWI just because they assume you were under the influence. A blood test showing your blood alcohol content at the time of the accident or a drug test has to be administered as proof.
In some states, they have to prove that your impairment directly caused the death. For example, if prosecution proves that the circumstances of the accident would have been the same whether you were impaired or not, additional or harsher punishment may not happen.
Causing a fatal car accident is horrific. It can cause you to have serious emotional scars for the rest of your life. Jail should be saved for real criminals with malice in their hearts. Not people who make mistakes and cause accidents that they didn't intend to happen. If you were involved in a fatal car accident and the police are pursuing charges stay quiet and hire a lawyer.