I found a very interesting discussion in an Ask the Trooper article from Hometownsource.com. When I saw the headline, I wasn’t sure what this was really going to be about. For the type of work we do, the distinction can play a role in how the jury sees fault/liability. Sometimes they go with accident and that it really isn’t anyone’s fault or done on purpose. The problem is that negligence isn’t about whether it was intentional or not.
The Sgt. Curt Mowers Trooper’s angle was helpful:
The spark for this issue stems from a court trial from more than a decade ago involving the intentional ramming of a police vehicle, which resulted in the death of a police officer.
During the trial, an attorney brought up the point that the incident was referred to by police in all of the reports as an “accident.” It also was reported by police on an “accident” report form, thus it was argued that the incident was not intentional and charges should be dismissed. I won’t get into the results of that trial, but ever since that time, traffic safety officials in the state have made a huge effort to influence everyone to use the word “crash” and not the word “accident.”
Personally, I have been on board with this since the beginning. Mostly, the initial efforts for change were aimed at officers, media, and traffic safety officials. We know that human driving error causes the vast majority of crashes and are therefore preventable. These crashes are not accidents and we need to use the correct term to define this.
Here the question was whether the action was a crime, so the findings of intent are important. However, as he explains it, a number of the issues and findings are related.
The answer also points out the different angles that defenses can take. It is the reason why an experienced attorney can have an effect and why going it alone with the insurance company can get you or your loved ones in trouble.
If you, your family, or someone you know is in an accident, it is worth taking the time to sit down and talk to an experienced law firm with success in helping people who are injured through no fault of their own. The consultations are free and it allows you to figure out what rights you have after an injury
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.