Can a Criminal Case Affect Your Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim is viable when a person was injured as a result of the negligence of another person. Sometimes, this claim may involve a criminal charge against the party who caused the injury. For instance, a car accident involving a drunk driver can result in criminal and civil cases. A criminal charge for the accident and a civil charge for getting drunk can come up against the driver. The criminal and civil cases would be handled separately by different courts in this instance. And it will require different evidence to prove the guilt of the drunken driver.
How is a Criminal Prosecution Different from a Civil Case?
The court has to prove a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor must prove the elements of the crime for the court to find the person guilty in criminal prosecution. In an intoxicated driver scenario above, evidence may include results of chemical testing, evidence collected during field sobriety tests, and testimony from the arresting officer. The judge would then punish if the offender is guilty of the crime.
Also, the driver can be liable for an injury or loss caused to the victim through an accident. The victim can file a personal injury claim against the driver to seek compensation for the damage caused. Contrary to a criminal case where the burden to prove the guilt of the driver is on the prosecutor, the burden to prove the guilt of the driver is on the victim in a civil case.
Can a Criminal Conviction Help My Injury Claim?
The rate at which a criminal conviction will influence your injury claim depends on the circumstances surrounding the case. it is important to establish that the outcome of a criminal case doesn’t determine the outcome of the civil case. The offending party may have his charges dismissed in a criminal court, but such party may be liable to damages and required to compensate you in a civil court.
A civil court can use the evidence used to convict a party in a criminal court to establish a claim. For example, if a car accident occurs, the victim can claim that the accident wouldn’t occur if not for the drunk driver and negligence. A victim can use the evidence that the accident occurred due to negligence to claim damages.