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Law Offices of John Morelli
A Personal Injury Firm Serving All Of South Jersey

Car Accidents Can Result In Criminal Consequences

When you are driving, your legal responsibility is to obey all traffic laws, maintain a safe stopping distance from the car in front of you and not be under the influence of any drugs or alcohol that would inhibit your ability to drive. It sounds simple enough; if there's a red light, you have a legal responsibility to stop at it. Fail to fulfill your obligations and you will be found a negligent driver. As long as a person drives reasonably, following all relevant traffic laws, the law considers them to be acting in a non-negligent manner.

Don't Ever Leave The Scene Of An Accident

After any car accident, drivers are required by New Jersey state law to stop and exchange auto insurance information. If you hit someone's car, you must stop and give your information to the other driver and the police, should they arrive. This is so the insurance companies can determine fault. If either driver fails to stop and exchange information, they can be found guilty of a hit and run.

What You Can Expect From The Police

A police officer may issue a ticket and charge a grossly negligent driver with a criminal offense such as assault with a deadly weapon. But in our firm's helping people through countless car accidents, that is rarely done for even the most egregious cases. Police officers are mainly inclined to get traffic moving again and get back to their shifts; they do not usually stop long enough to assess the scene and then make a charge against one of the drivers. If you were hit by a driver who ran a red light or blew through a stop sign, don't be surprised if they failed to receive a ticket for their actions. This is why nearly all cases are handled mainly on a civil level, where the negligent driver is sued by the injured person or their insurance company. Speak to an experienced attorney to understand all of the consequences.

The Differences Between Civil And Criminal Law

New Jersey's system for injury compensation is built around tort law, which attempts to rectify a civil wrong that caused losses or suffering to another individual. Although a criminal act can fall within tort law, personal injury torts usually are focused on the harm done due to the negligence of a person, corporation or any other entity through civil law. It is possible for someone to be pursued with criminal negligence in a criminal trial and general negligence through a tort lawsuit, but these are done through separate courts. A good example would be the famous O.J. Simpson trial, in which he was acquitted for a criminal act, but found guilty civilly as being responsible for his ex-wife's wrongful death in a tort lawsuit. Tort lawsuits are handled outside the criminal system and thus do not have the same ramifications that a criminal suit would.

The Law Offices of John Morelli in Cherry Hill has decades of legal experience behind it. Contact our skilled lawyers by calling 856-528-3205.

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