Often, personal injury attorneys see cases in which one or more parties is injured in the middle of a criminal action. For example, street racing can cause a chain reaction that injures the driver of an uninvolved vehicle. The injuries from these accidents can be devastating.
In a case that involves a crime, like street racing, those who caused the accident could be arrested at the scene for drug and drinking charges, for instance. They could also face criminal charges related to reckless driving.
So, if a criminal case occurs, how could it impact your personal injury case if you were the innocent party who was injured in all of this? Here's what you need to know.
Criminal and Civil Cases Are Separate
First, you need to know that criminal and civil charges are completely different cases. Often, the attorneys for the criminal case will ask that the criminal case is resolved before the civil case begins. The defendant typically wants to focus on one case at a time.
Can One Case Impact Another?
Criminal and civil cases are separate, so the outcome of one case does not necessarily impact the other. This means that even if the individual racing on the streets was not convicted of reckless driving or drinking, they may still be held civilly liable for the case.
One thing you should know is that each case works a bit differently. The criminal courts require that the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual committed the crime. In a civil case, the threshold is significantly lower. That means proving fault in a civil case is much easier.
In the same vein, you should know that simply because somebody was found guilty in criminal court does not mean you have automatically won your personal injury case. While a criminal conviction is reassuring and perhaps helpful, it is no guarantee. Still, it may help your attorney bring forth the idea that the other driver was behaving negligently.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Your case can become much more complicated when you get into a situation that involves criminal charges. For this reason, you should hire an attorney specializing in personal injury law who can help you with the process of understanding your personal injury case and following through in court. With your attorney, you have the support and legal representation you need to move forward with your life and recover. Compensation can help you with this step.