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Driver negligence found to be criminal in Missouri trial

It did not take long for a jury to return a guilty verdict for a man who was alleged to have not taken the proper precautions in securing a piece of heavy machinery on the back of his truck. The Missouri jury took about four hours to determine that the driver, a 27-year-old man, was criminally negligent for an accident that took two women's lives. This verdict could further support a claim of liability for a driver negligence case in civil court, although it is unclear whether such an action has been filed at this time.

The accident occurred back in 2009. In the trial, it was proven that the driver of the truck lost control of a bulldozer that he was transporting. The bulldozer proceeded to fall off the truck and landed on a car being driven by a 63-year-old woman.

As a result of the collision, both the driver and her 86-year-old mother were transported to the hospital. Both were pronounced dead months later. It is unclear whether any other individuals were hurt in the crash.

A finding of guilt in a criminal trial may greatly assist a victim's family in their proving that driver negligence is also to blame in a wrongful death lawsuit. It may also be possible for the plaintiffs to offer relevant evidence presented in the Missouri criminal case in their civil proceeding. This evidence may put the victims in an advantageous position to pursue a judgment against any party whose negligence is deemed to have caused or contributed to the fatal crash. Since the burden of proof in a civil proceeding is less stringent than that required in a criminal proceeding, a criminal court conviction based on negligence may be allowed as proof of liability in related civil proceedings.

Source: Associated Press, "Mo. truck driver convicted in double-fatal crash," Sept. 1, 2012

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