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The Intent To Break the Law — The Beginning of a Personal Injury Automobile Case

Auto wreck cases that result in an innocent person being injured begins with a violation of the law – running through a stop sign, driving distracted, disregarding a red light, driving drunk, driving recklessly, driving angry.  Someone broke the law, a crash occurs, and then someone was hurt as a resultStop Sign - Personal Injury Case -- Altizer Law – that by definition, is a personal injury case.

When someone commits a criminal act that results in injury to another, like a bar fight, malicious wounding, manslaughter, we as a society seem to be more outraged and show more compassion to the victim in comparison to driver who causes injury to an innocent person in an auto wreck.  My thought is that heightened outrage for criminal acts is based on our perspective of what is intent, that is, the person committing the violent criminal act has the intent to cause injury to another.   And we do not think that the person who runs a stop sign, as an example, means to cause injury.

But consider this:  When a driver sees a stop sign, which Virginia law requires us to stop and yield the right of way, and then chooses not to stop, what is the foreseeable consequence of that illegal act?  That driver might get lucky and not hit anyone or that driver might hit a mom and a child and kill them both.  Consider also that the driver’s  intent is to run the stop sign knowing that someone could be injured or killed.  In our society, that choice and intent seems to be minimized.  But such intent can cause great devastation, just like the criminal acts above.

The law allows for full and fair compensation for those injured by the illegal and wrongful act of another.  If we do not make sure the wrongdoer is held to that standard and make him or her fully compensate the one who was hurt – the victim — we do not hold the wrongdoer accountable for the wrongdoing.  The phrase, “Getting away with murder” comes to mind.  Even with liability-based auto wrecks, there is always intent to do wrong and that intent always comes with the knowledge that the wrongful act could hurt or kill someone.  We must hold those wrongdoers accountable for this intentional violation of the law and for all of the harms and losses they cause – no more, but no less either.  Otherwise, a society becomes a lawless, uncaring one.