In the United States, there are two different kinds of legal proceedings that can be undertaken in instances of injury. The first is a civil lawsuit, in which a person seeks to receive compensation to cover the cost of their injury and losses. The second is criminal charges. According to injury attorney Stacy Kemp, most personal injuries due to accidents do not result in criminal prosecution. However, in certain cases there may be criminal charges in addition to a civil lawsuit.
One particular example of this is accidents involving drunk driving. A drunk driver can be criminally charged for a DUI and serve jail time, but they can also be required to pay out compensation for the injuries and losses of the people they hurt. Another example is that of assault. Assault and battery are criminal actions, but in addition to criminal charges, a civil lawsuit can be filed to pay for injuries sustained in an altercation.
Thus, criminal charges and personal injury lawsuits can be filed against the same person. However, these legal proceedings will not be joined together in a single case. Below we will discuss specific considerations for personal injury cases
What are Personal Injury Lawsuits?
Personal injury lawsuits are legal proceedings meant to recoup the costs of an injury, which can include past and future medical expenses, as well as lost wages due to being unable to work. Lawsuits are usually filed as a last resort. If possible, the injured person and at-fault person’s insurance company will settle the case out of court. Injured people who retain a lawyer early are more likely to have better negotiation leverage and obtain a fairer settlement from the insurance company.
Thus, personal injury claims describe the process of obtaining compensation for an injury, even if it’s outside the court system. On the other hand, personal injury lawsuits describe a formal legal filing in the court system in which a judge or jury will decide the cause of an injury and the level compensation to be paid out to the victim.
If a claim reaches the lawsuit level, proper documentation and evidence is key to success. This is why it is so important to retain legal counsel as early as possible. They can ensure that any and all evidence is retained and available for use in a legal trial if necessary. Such evidence can include police reports, medical bill documentation, witness statements, video footage, and more.
Your lawyer will need to defend against arguments from the insurance company, which could include the insurance company disputing the cause of your injuries, or the severity of your injuries. Insurance companies will often point to pre-existing injuries, or try to shift some of the fault to you. Any initial statements you make to the insurance company could potentially be used as evidence of this. That’s why it is also important to seek legal advice before giving a statement to an insurance company after an accident.
In conclusion, injured persons have several remedies available to them under the law. They are able to seek financial compensation for injuries they sustain. They are also able to seek justice for criminal actions, if a criminal action led to an injury.
We hope this information is helpful.