Difference Between Civil And Criminal Liability

In Central Kentucky, 15 individuals were taken to the hospital after a church bus got into an accident with an SUV on Interstate 64 early Monday morning.

13 of the 15 individuals involved in the accident were passengers on the church bus, and the other two were travelling in the SUV. According to authorities, most of the injuries the passengers suffered were minor.

Individuals involved in a car accident can be involved in either a criminal or civil lawsuit. Understanding the difference is important in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your case to determine whether or not to pursue a lawsuit.

A civil case will typically involve a private dispute between individuals or organizations, whereas a criminal case will involve an action that is considered to represent the society as a whole against a criminal who broke the law.

Civil Liability

Civil lawsuits are brought in both state and federal courts. A civil case is initiated when a person or corporation claims that another person or corporation has failed to carry out a legal duty that was owed to the plaintiff. The plaintiff may seek the court to order the defendant to fulfill his or her legal duty or provide compensation for the harm caused to the plaintiff.

An example of a civil legal duty is an expectation that the defendant will not act in a reckless or negligent manner while operating his or her vehicle on the road.

The burden of proof in a civil case is "by a preponderance of the evidence," which means it is more likely than not that the plaintiff's allegations are true.

Criminal Liability

Criminal lawsuits are initiated by the government, known as prosecutor, where the defendant is accused a crime through a formal accusation known as an indictment.

In federal court, the government prosecutes the case through the United States Attorney's Office on behalf of the individuals of the United States. In state court, the government prosecutes the case through the State or District Attorney's office.

The victim is not responsible for bringing a criminal case-the government prosecutes on behalf of the victim. Once the court has determined that the defendant is guilty for his or her crime, the court will order a sentence on the defendant. The sentence could include a fine, incarceration, or released supervision in the community.

The burden of proof is a significantly higher for a criminal case. The government must prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Car Accident Relief

If you have been involved in a car accident, you may have the right to bring a claim against the driver or his or her insurance company to receive monetary compensation. A civil claim can be brought if you have received injuries because of the driver's fault or negligence. Depending on the strength of your case, you may be entitled to receive compensation for physical and mental pain and suffering that resulted from the accident. These are known as "general damages," and can only be recovered from a personal injury civil lawsuit. In addition, you may be entitled to receive payment for property damage to your vehicle.

In Kentucky, you have no more than two years after the injury, death, or the last basic or added reparation payment made by the obligor pursuant to KRS 304.390230(1).

Reach out to an experienced Kentucky Personal Injury Attorney at Goeing Goeing and McQuinn PLLC to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Contact us for a free consultation today, or visit our website to learn more.


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