There are typically two forms of financial protection available for those hurt by another person or a business. The first is insurance coverage. Insurance can often compensate those affected by dangerous property conditions, professional negligence or motor vehicle collisions.
Personal injury lawsuits are also an option when illegal activity, negligence or similar misconduct on the part of a business or individual causes either property damage or physical injury to someone. When the incident that left someone injured was involved in violation of the law, such as drunk driving or an attempted robbery, the state may bring charges against the individual who harmed you or a member of your family.
What will those criminal charges mean for your rights in civil court?
Criminal charges do not prevent a lawsuit
Some people mistakenly believe that if a prosecutor charges an individual with a criminal offense that civil claims against that party will no longer be an option. These individuals may have an inaccurate understanding of double jeopardy, which is legal protection from someone facing prosecution repeatedly for the same criminal event.
Civil litigation brought by someone directly affected by misconduct does not violate someone’s protection from double jeopardy. It is merely a second type of consequence that someone may face after engaging in criminal activity.
Successful prosecution could bolster your case
The evidence presented in criminal court will also help in a civil case. When the prosecutor is successful and secures a conviction, the evidence that they used in criminal court could help you develop your case in civil court, although the conviction itself will also do a lot to help.
Some of that same evidence could help in your civil claim even if the prosecution isn’t successful. The standard for evidence in lawsuits is different than in criminal cases, which makes it easier to secure compensation than it does for a prosecutor to obtain a conviction. Rather than waiting for the conclusion of criminal proceedings, you may need to initiate a civil claim before the statute of limitations expires in your case.
Learning more about your rights when you have a viable personal injury claim after a criminal act can help you demand financial justice from the person who harmed you.