Most of the time, when one hears about people being injured on a bus, they assume there has been an accident. However, recently, one San Antonio man was sentenced to 35 years in prison after being convicted of the stabbing of another man in October 2017, aboard a VIA bus. This is obviously a very unusual event, but it can sometimes confuse people who may not understand the difference between a criminal case like this one, and a civil case in personal injury, as is more likely to happen on board a bus.
Crime vs Civil Tort
In the stabbing case, the attacker appeared to attack the victim in an attempt to steal his cell phone, stabbing him repeatedly, though the victim ultimately survived. There was graphic video from the bus’s security cameras that captured the nature of the attack, and it seemed to begin out of nowhere. The attacker was later tried and convicted, reappearing in court on February 6 for his sentencing. He pleaded “nolo contendere,” which means ‘no contest’ and is technically not an admission of guilt. However, the judge sentenced him to 35 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, plus a fine.
The attacker was charged with a crime, punishable by jail time among other potential consequences. However, most injuries that happen on buses or other public transportation are considered to happen as a result of civil torts. A civil tort is a negligent or reckless act that ends in loss or harm to another person or to property, while a crime is considered a wrongful act against society as a whole. If there is a VIA bus accident where people are injured, it is considered a civil tort because the keyword is accident - there would be no malice or intent to injure anyone. The attacker clearly, by the video, intended to injure the victim and was thus charged with a crime....