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What Is Malicious Prosecution?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Prosecution is the process through which the state brings criminal charges against an individual. Any prosecution must have a foundation of probable cause or reason to believe the individual committed the crimes in question. Additionally, criminal charges exist with the intent of upholding justice. “Malicious prosecution” is a legal term pertaining to any prosecution made without probable cause or for purposes other than bringing an alleged criminal to justice. A victim of malicious prosecution can file action for damages suffered because of the malicious prosecution.

Proving Malicious Prosecution

A malicious prosecution is essentially a baseless accusation brought against an individual for the purposes of harassing or distressing him or her. The plaintiff in a malicious prosecution case must provide evidence for several factors to succeed in a claim. These four elements include:

  • Proving the initiator of the prosecution acted in bad faith, or for some other reason other than the pursuit of justice against an alleged offender.
  • The resulting proceeding led to a ruling in the victim’s favor.
  • There was no probable cause that would have reasonably led to the proceeding.
  • The initiator of the proceeding acted with malice toward the victim.

Victims of malicious prosecution face several hurdles in pursing damages for these incidents. First, proving that a police officer or government agent did not have probable cause is usually difficult. The other difficulty lies in the legal concept of qualified immunity. Many law enforcement agencies and government agencies are immune from legal action from private citizens except under extraordinary circumstances. The victim will need to prove that the malicious prosecutor acted outside the scope of his or her position and engaged in willful and unreasonable conduct.

The final hurdle for victims of malicious prosecution lies in state laws. Some states define malicious prosecution and unfair trials differently and will allow a plaintiff to sue for one, but not the other. Additionally, various elements of a malicious prosecution case may lead a judge to dismiss the allegations or allow the plaintiff to file an action for an unfair trial instead. People commonly conflate malicious prosecution with false arrest or false imprisonment. False arrest applies to situations in which someone without the proper authority to conduct the arrest arrests a victim. False imprisonment applies to confining someone against his or her will. Malicious prosecution only applies when someone intentionally misuses the justice system.

Damages for Malicious Prosecution Cases

Generally, plaintiffs in malicious prosecution cases seek to recover any expenses they incur because of the malicious prosecution. This can extend to attorney’s fees, court filing fees, lost income from time spent in prison or being otherwise unable to work, and other compensation. In some cases, plaintiffs can receive compensation for the emotional distress of withstanding an abuse of the justice system. Plaintiffs may also sue for damaged reputation and lost future earning potential.

Anyone who suffers from malicious prosecution needs to act quickly to protect his or her rights. A competent attorney can help a victim of malicious prosecution prove the improper actions of the defendant in question and help the victim secure compensation for such a distressful – and often expensive – ordeal.

Posted by admin at 6:32 pm

Common Defenses in Trucking Accident Cases

Monday, October 9, 2017

Tractor-trailer accidents can lead to catastrophic property damage, severe injuries, even deaths. These accidents can happen for any number of reasons, including driver errors, faulty vehicle parts, poor maintenance, or aggressive driving. When a person suffers an injury in a trucking accident, he or she may attempt to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver or trucking company. While some cases are open and shut, others are more complex, may involve multiple defendants, or there may simply be a lack of evidence that could help reach a speedier conclusion.

Trucking companies carry insurance coverage for personal injury claims and often employ response teams that travel to accident sites to gather evidence. These responders look for any evidence to protect their employers from legal entanglements with plaintiffs injured in trucking accidents.

Common Defenses for Trucking Companies

The first step in handling any type of personal injury claim is establishing fault. While the plaintiff must prove the trucking company is at fault for his or her injuries, the trucking company will look for any reason to disprove or cast doubt upon a plaintiff’s claims. Some of the most common defenses these companies will use include:

  • Plaintiff fault. Some states follow comparative negligence laws that allow plaintiffs to secure compensation for damages even if they are partially to blame for those damages. In trucking accident cases, the trucking company will likely look for any evidence that the plaintiff is at least partially to blame for an accident.
  • Third parties. A trucking company may claim that a third party unrelated to the plaintiff or the trucking company caused the accident in question. In these cases, the trucking company must be able to prove a third party had a hand in the accident and may need to collect evidence such as traffic camera data.
  • Honest accidents. If the trucking accident occurred due to an unavoidable accident or honest mistake, the trucking company may be able to prove the driver was not negligent and the accident was inevitable. In these situations, the trucking company’s liability coverage may go toward the plaintiff’s damages, but the trucking company may escape liability for negligence.
  • Plaintiff exaggeration. Plaintiffs can only sue for actual harm suffered or measurable losses. The trucking company may argue that the plaintiff overestimated his or her losses or did not suffer any actual damages.
  • Lack of evidence. A trucking company may cite lack of proof of injury as evidence that the plaintiff lied or exaggerated his or her injuries. Plaintiffs should be certain to secure as much evidence as possible to prove the extent of their injuries and other damages. This also means providing evidence that a plaintiff’s medical treatment was appropriate, given the situation and the plaintiff’s injuries. Additionally, if the plaintiff claims lost wages as damages in a lawsuit, the plaintiff must be able to provide evidence of the lost income.

Plaintiffs injured in trucking accidents should work quickly to secure legal representation if they feel a lawsuit is necessary. The right attorney will help build a strong case with all the necessary supporting evidence for reaching a satisfactory verdict and help hold negligent trucking companies and drivers accountable for their actions.

Posted by admin at 6:29 pm

Tanker Truck Rollover Prevention

Monday, October 2, 2017

Tractor-trailers are vital parts of the American economy and transportation network, but they are also inherently more dangerous than smaller vehicles on the road. Trucks that pull tankers full of liquid goods, including gas and oil, can be even more dangerous. If these tanker trucks roll over, they can cause catastrophic damage, severe injuries, even fatalities. Depending on what a rolled-over tanker truck carried, the spilled contents can also present a serious risk of additional injuries as well as environmental hazards or public health emergencies.

Statistics indicate that almost 80% of all tanker truck rollover accidents happen due to some level of driver error. While truck drivers must obtain special certifications to perform their jobs and generally have more miles of driving under their belts than typical drivers, it is still crucial for them to understand the risks of driving tanker trucks and follow a few best practices to avoid rollovers.

Speed Control

Large trucks cannot stop or slow down as quickly as smaller passenger vehicles. They also require much longer distances to come to a complete stop. If a tanker truck driver is travelling too fast or not paying enough attention to other vehicles on the road, the driver may not have time to slow down or stop to avoid a collision. Tanker truck drivers can easily cause rollovers if they swerve to avoid a collision while traveling at speed. The sudden change in direction will cause the trailer to tip and probably fall over.

Speed is also a problem for turning. Tanker truck drivers need to account for changes on the road, and taking a sharp turn at high speed can easily cause a tanker truck to rollover. Drivers should reduce speed for turns and accommodate their vehicles’ size and weight.

Sudden Movements

Tanker truck drivers should do everything possible to avoid any sudden movements or jerking of the steering wheel. If a driver needs to suddenly turn to avoid another vehicle, the driver can unintentionally cause the tanker truck to rollover by oversteering or making the move too quickly. Tanker truck drivers can prevent rollovers by staying vigilant for changes in traffic patterns and avoiding reflexive sudden movements.

Plan Ahead

Tanker truck drivers can avoid rollovers by carefully planning routes ahead of time. By studying a route’s topography, known hazards, and any other elements like road construction on the route, drivers can make their deliveries with additional confidence. A driver who is not expecting a sudden change in road conditions is more likely to suffer a rollover accident, so preparation before every trip is important.

Trucking companies must ensure their drivers receive thorough training and have the experience necessary for handling tanker trucks. Most tanker trucks carry valuable goods, including fossil fuels, so trucking companies and their drivers have a high duty of care to ensure they do not put other drivers at risk with unsafe driving. Other drivers should be wary of all tractor-trailers on the road, especially tanker trucks, and avoid driving aggressively near them. Caution and good judgment from all drivers can help prevent tanker truck rollovers.

Posted by admin at 6:24 pm