Ohio doctor sentenced after driving drunk, hitting bicyclist

Bicycle accidents are usually lead to some of the most serious injuries on the roadway. Bicyclists have little to protect them from the car or the road surface, apart from a helmet. The injuries suffered in a collision with a vehicle are often severe, and require significant medical treatment. As a result, many bicyclists who are hit by a motorist suffer from heavy medical bills, physical therapy costs and lost wages. Permanent physical disability is also a very real possibility.

Bicyclists are often the victims of drunk drivers, who sometimes veer into bike lanes when they are unable to maintain a lane. It was a drunk driver who struck an Ohio bicyclist in September 2012, leaving him seriously injured.

The cyclist has chosen to remain anonymous. His medical expenses were likely significant, however.

This month, the woman who struck him, a doctor from Worthington, was sentenced. An Ohio court sentenced her to 400 hours of community service and 15 days in jail. She was also ordered to pay over $3,800 in fines. Her sentence comes after she previously pleaded guilty to charges of vehicular assault.

It is worth noting that this sentence does not reimburse the doctor's victim for the significant injuries he suffered as a result of the doctor's negligent actions. That is because the woman was tried in criminal court, for criminal charges. To seek financial reimbursement after an accident, victims must file personal injury lawsuits in civil court.

Personal injury cases seek to reimburse victims for the physical, emotional and financial losses they have suffered as the result of another party's carelessness or negligence. It is common for these civil charges to come after the criminal charges, as one's civil case becomes much easier to prove if the allegedly negligent party is convicted in criminal court. It not necessary, though, for someone to be convicted of a crime in order to be found liable for a victim's losses.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, "Doctor gets 15 days in jail for driving drunk, hitting cyclist" Laura Arenschield, Mar. 25, 2014

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