Can You File A Personal Injury Lawsuit If You're A Crime Victim?
If you've been injured as a result of someone committing a crime, you have the right to receive compensation for your injuries. It's somewhat similar to getting compensation for an accident, but there are a few things that are different. Here's what you should know.
Don't Criminal Cases Have Restitution?
Judges often do order restitution as part of a criminal case. However, there are a few things that may cause you to think twice about relying on it. First, not all jurisdictions are consistent about making restitution a priority in their cases. If the DA wants to end a case quickly, they may plead it out without asking the judge to order restitution.
Next, you may be entitled to more than you'd get in restitution. Since the focus of a criminal case is prosecuting the crime, the DA may not present evidence of all the money you lost, and the judge may not be able to award it. Further, the criminal laws on restitution may not cover things you can get in a civil case.
Finally, criminal cases are harder to prove. In a criminal case, the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt, and you only get restitution if the defendant is found guilty in court. If the police made a mistake and the DA can't get a conviction, you might not get restitution. A civil case is only by the preponderance of the evidence — that's just more than 50% in your favor.
Can You Make an Insurance Claim?
You often can't ask the defendant's insurance company to pay like in an accident claim. That's because most insurance policies don't cover criminal acts by the policyholder. You may have health insurance, but that won't cover things like your deductible or lost wages. Further, if your insurance company does pay you anything, they can sue the defendant for what they had to pay.
Can You File a Lawsuit?
You can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover any harm done to you from a crime, even if the defendant is never even arrested. One of the most famous cases is OJ Simpson being found not guilty of murder in criminal court but losing the civil lawsuit. To win your personal injury lawsuit, you don't even need to prove that what happened was a crime. You just need to prove that the defendant intentionally or negligently did something that caused you harm.
To learn more, ask a local attorney at a firm like the Law Offices Of Timothy L Lapointe PC for personal injury legal advice today.