Not every accident in Rhode Island that involves serious injuries or death leads to criminal charges. Sometimes, a car crash is no more than an unfortunate accident, and the conduct of the driver deemed responsible does not rise to the level of being criminal. Often, the strict burden of proof required for criminal cases cannot be met based on the facts surrounding a car crash.
A Rhode Island man recently suffered serious injuries as he rode along Greenwich Avenue in Warwick on his bicycle. A vehicle operated by a 44-year-old woman traveling in a northwesterly direction struck the 63-year-old bike rider. The man is reportedly in fair condition in the intensive care unit at Rhode Island Hospital.
So far, the officers investigating the incident do not believe that the driver was speeding. Further, it is not believed that either party had consumed alcohol prior to getting on the road. Warwick police say the crash is still under investigation.
Criminal charges are felt to be unnecessary at this stage of the investigation. Even though that could change, the fact that charges may not be filed is not necessarily relevant to any civil action the injured bicyclist may choose to file. The burden of proof in civil court is not as strict as it is in criminal proceedings.
It is possible to prove negligence in a civil case absent criminal charges. If the injured man is able to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the driver substantially contributed to or caused the accident and his resulting injuries, he may be awarded the damages he incurred as a result of the car crash. Any monetary award may alleviate the stress of medical bills, lost wages and other related financial losses.
Source: therepublic.com, Police: Charges unlikely after car hits cyclist; 63-year-old biker suffered serious injures, No author, March 10, 2014