Criminal charges are not filed after many Maryland truck accidents. Yet, in cases where criminal charges are filed after an accident, that evidence may be admissible in a civil proceeding. Generally, in the event that a driver pleads guilty in court to a criminal offense or a traffic citation, evidence of the guilty plea may be admitted in a subsequent civil proceeding in Maryland. In contrast, if a driver pays a fine for a traffic citation without going to court, generally evidence of the payment of the fine cannot be admitted in a subsequent civil proceeding in Maryland. Courts in Maryland have held that the payment of a fine is less significant than a guilty plea in court and is not an express acknowledgment of guilt. If evidence of a guilty plea is admitted in a personal injury case, that evidence may still be rebutted or explained.
In a criminal case, the culpability of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In contrast, in a civil case, the liability of the defendant must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a less demanding burden of proof. This means that even if no criminal charges were filed, a civil lawsuit may still be viable because the burden of proof is easier to meet and evidence that was inadmissible in a criminal trial may be admissible in a civil case.
Notably, however, under Rule 5-403 of the Maryland Rules of Evidence, even if certain evidence would otherwise be admissible, it can be excluded from the trial if the probative value of the evidence is substantially outweighed by the danger of prejudice it poses. Evidence may also be excluded for other reasons. Whatever the circumstances, a plaintiff may have to fight to get the evidence admitted and to combat the defendant’s narrative of lack of culpability despite the offense.
Bus Driver Charged with Manslaughter After Fatal Crash
Recently, charges were brought against a bus driver after a crash left one woman dead. According to a news source, the city bus driver was driving the bus downtown when the bus jumped the curb and hit a bench where people were waiting for the bus. A 67-year-old woman was killed instantly. Another woman, who was 75 years old, was also critically injured. Some bus passengers also sustained injuries. The bus driver was charged with misdemeanor manslaughter alleging that she committed negligence, alleging that the driver failed “to use reasonable care to prevent reasonably foreseeable harm to oneself or someone else.” The outcome of the case is pending.
Have You Been Injured in Maryland?
If you have been seriously injured in a Maryland truck accident, retaining legal counsel with specific experience handling truck accident cases is essential. The attorneys at the Maryland law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers, have the experience and the skills to competently and effectively handle your personal injury case. Their attorneys and staff will work hard to ensure that your needs are taken care of as promptly as possible. Contact them online via their online form or call toll-free at 800-654-1949 for a free consultation.