An accident involving personal injuries may be investigated by law enforcement. They search for evidence of criminal activity that might have contributed to the accident. Moreover, they seek ways to prevent future collisions and make roads safer. If the investigation is successful, the police may make an arrest.
An arrest by police can result in criminal charges, and you may be concerned about the impact on your personal injury claim. If this is the situation you find yourself in, you should contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in California to learn more about the implications. If your injury case overlaps with a criminal matter, here are the things you need to know.
How do Criminal Cases and Civil Cases Differ?
A breach of state criminal law is referred to as a criminal case. Assault and violence, drunk driving, fleeing the scene of a crime, and distracted driving are instances of criminal cases that may develop in the context of a personal injury case. The charges are filed by the state through a county district attorney or a smaller government unit such as a city attorney.
The district attorney decides whether or not to press charges in a criminal proceeding. A criminal case’s goal is to punish the offender, if necessary, order rehabilitation, and protect the public as a whole.
A breach of state civil law occurs in an injury case. A violation of civil law might be based on written legislation or on the common law. A civil case’s purpose is to monetarily compensate the victim for their losses. It is up to the victim to take action to make the case stronger by bringing credible evidence with the help of a lawyer.
Different Burdens of Proof Apply to Different Types of Cases
You have to prove your case enough to win the case. When it comes to criminal cases, the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable suspicion. Defendants must prove that their theory of the case is true beyond a reasonable doubt.
By a preponderance of the evidence, the plaintiff must show the other side is at fault for their injuries in a civil personal injury case. This means they must prove that there is a high probability that the injury came from the other side. The burden of proof in civil cases is much lower than in criminal cases.
In civil cases, the burden of proof is less burdensome than in criminal cases. It is possible to win a civil suit even if the defendant was not found guilty in a criminal trial. There is the possibility that an individual may not be found guilty of a criminal charge, but civilly liable for the harm they caused the victim.
Even if the state decides not to bring charges or if the criminal case doesn’t result in a conviction, there still may be a good chance for you to recover damages for your injury through a civil proceeding.
In a Civil Case Involving Personal Injury, More Damages can be Recovered
If a criminal case is resolved with a verdict, the perpetrator of the crime may be entitled to monetary support for certain types of losses. Restitution is the term used to describe the payments that the defendant must make. Medical expenditures, psychological treatment costs, and reimbursement for the fair value of the property loss are all covered under restitution.
In a civil injury case, a victim is entitled to greater damages. In addition to the restitution available in a criminal prosecution, the plaintiff in an injury case can seek compensation for emotional pain, bodily suffering, replacement household services, and other factors. It’s crucial not to believe that bringing a criminal case will result in the same monetary support as bringing a personal injury case will.
Statutes of Limitations Differ in Different Places
You may have a different time limit to file a civil case than the state to bring a criminal charge. For example, you generally have two years to file a personal injury claim. For a simple misdemeanor, the state may have only one year to file charges.
Is it Possible to Bring a Civil Case When There is a Criminal Case?
The filing of criminal action by the state does not preclude a victim from filing a personal injury claim. Instead, civil and criminal proceedings can exist side by side. In most cases, the criminal matter is resolved before the damage case.
If the defendant makes remarks in the criminal case, you can use such comments in the civil case to your benefit. The state may enable the defendant to plead no contest instead of guilty if he or she desires to submit a guilty plea in the criminal case without acknowledging civil liability. In criminal court, a no-contest plea has the same consequence as a guilty plea, but the defendant does not admit guilt that is carried over into the civil case.
Civil Liability Does Not Always Follow a Criminal Violation
It is conceivable for someone to be criminally accountable for an accident without also being civilly liable. When a motorist in a passenger car stops at a stop sign, for example, an accident happens. The truck driver in front of the passenger vehicle does not come to a halt. The driver of the passenger vehicle is rear-ended by the truck driver. The cops arrive on the scene.
The truck driver was ticketed by the cops for failing to stop for the car in front of them. The passenger vehicle’s driver did not break any traffic laws or act recklessly. During the course of their inquiry, however, the cops notice an odor of alcohol coming from the passenger vehicle’s driver. They perform chemical tests and conduct field breath tests. The results suggest that the passenger vehicle driver has exceeded the legal limit.
As a result, only criminal liability is imposed on the passenger vehicle driver. Even though the driver was driving over the legal alcohol limit, his negligence wasn’t what caused the accident. This occurred because the truck driver failed to stop when he saw a vehicle ahead at the stop sign. Civil liability is attached to the truck driver in this case, and criminal liability to the passenger vehicle driver.
Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help!
Don’t assume that a criminal case can successfully resolve a personal injury case if you’ve been hurt. Depending on your situation, a Deldar Legal Injury Attorney in California can determine whether a criminal matter could impact your personal injury claim.
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