Q&A: Vehicular Manslaughter?

Question by Adam: Vehicular Manslaughter?
I’m in an argument with one of my friends about whether this scenario would result in a potential vehicular manslaughter charge.

Lets say someone, a motorcyclist, is doing in excess of 100 miles an hour down the freeway. They hit you, and they die. Obviously you saw them speeding, but nobody else did. Could you potentially be charged with vehicular manslaughter? My friend says no because “they where obviously speeding and therefore it was their fault.” I say yes because of, “failure to prevent an accident,” combined with it being your word against the image of a grieving family. (Plus I’ve heard that people tend to throw the book at you for hurting a motorcyclist).

Anyway, whats your opinions on this scenario, specifically in 2 cases:

A) He hits you from behind.
B) He tried to pass you and gets sideswiped, even if by his own misjudgement.

A response from an attorney or a cop would be REALLY nice.


Best answer:

Answer by Get In Line
Your friend is right. Regardless of whether or not you saw them speeding…at that high rate of speed there would have been little, if anything you could have done to prevent that accident from happening. The “your word against theirs” (the grieving family) argument would have little bearing on the outcome…you were at the scene…they were not.

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4 thoughts on “Q&A: Vehicular Manslaughter?”

  1. Are you serious? Some fool driving on a motorcycle at that rate of speed is subject to damnation at best. How can it be your fault that this knucklehead ran into you or tried to illegally overtake you? This person knew going 100 m/h on a cycle one false move can lead to death. How could that be your fault? You say you could have prevented it? On a freeway, usually you don’t have many options to maneuver.

    However, I don’t think the cyclist expected you or anyone else on the road to have his/her back driving 100 m/h if anything was to happen. As if everyone on the road was supposed to be on guard for the cyclist because that person has a free pass to overtake everyone. He/she was just gas happy and didn’t care about safety and paid for it.

  2. For scenario A in a rear end collision it is always the person behind who is at fault, no matter what. There is almost never an exception for that. For scenario B, forensics could find a rough estimate of his speed and unless you steered into him, the biker would be determined to be at fault

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