The criminal trial of Volodymyr Zhukovskyy has been closely followed for the past two weeks in New Hampshire and nationwide. Mr. Zhukovskyy was charged with 7 counts of homicide after the semi-truck he was driving crashed head-on into a group of motorcyclists in June 2019 in Randolph, Rhode Island, and resulted in 7 deaths. According to a national news report, the jury released a verdict after the two-week long trial, and they found Mr. Zhukovskyy not guilty of all charges.
According to the facts discussed in the news report, prosecutors alleged that Mr. Zhukovskyy was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash and that his impairment and unsafe driving caused the crash. The defendant had one commercial driving license suspended in Connecticut two months before the crash for drunk driving. Although notice of the incident was sent to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, it had not been processed at the time, and Mr. Zhukovskyy was operating his vehicle with a valid Massachusetts commercial driving license at the time of the crash.
Defense attorneys argued that he was not impaired by any drugs at the time of the crash, and pointed to conflicting witness testimonies to place doubt on the prosecution’s theory of the case. It was unclear whether the motorcyclists for the defendant had crossed over the centerline before the crash. Because of this, the prosecution was unable to prove their case to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt, and Mr. Zhukovskyy will be released from custody.
Although the criminal case against Mr. Zhukovskyy ended without any judgment against the defendant, the victims of the accident are still entitled to seek civil damages for wrongful death based on the defendant’s role in the accident. New Hampshire personal injury and wrongful death claims must only be proved to a jury by the preponderance of the evidence, which is a much less stringent standard than proving charges beyond a reasonable doubt, as is required to secure a criminal conviction.
In addition to a reduced burden of proof, personal injury and wrongful death plaintiffs enjoy procedural advantages over a criminal prosecution, such as more favorable rules of evidence and fewer protections for civil defendants. Because of these differences between a criminal case and a civil case, it is usually easier for a plaintiff to secure a financial judgment against a defendant than it is for that defendant to be convicted of a crime related to a car accident. An experienced New Hampshire accident attorney can help victims recover damages, even in cases where criminal charges were unsuccessful.
Have You Been Hurt in an Accident?
If you or someone you love has been hurt or killed in a New Hampshire motorcycle accident, the New Hampshire wrongful death and personal injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates want to help. Our dedicated injury lawyers know how to persuade insurance companies, judges, and juries that you deserve to be fairly compensated for your losses. We represent clients throughout New England in a variety of negligence cases, including New Hampshire motorcycle accidents. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 1-800-804-2004 or reach out to us through our website.