What is the Difference Between Civil And Criminal Liability?
Individuals involved in a car accident can be involved in either a criminal or civil lawsuit.
A civil case will typically involve a private dispute between individuals or organizations, whereas a criminal case will involve an action that is against a criminal who broke the law.
Understanding the difference is important in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your case to determine whether or not to pursue a lawsuit.
What is Civil Liability?
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, and can be brought before both state and federal courts. The plaintiff may come before the court to request the defendant be ordered to fulfill his or her legal duty or provide compensation for the harm caused to the plaintiff.
In the example of a car accident, the 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.
If you have been involved in a car accident, you may have the right to bring a civil claim against the driver or his or her insurance company to receive monetary compensation for your injuries because of the driver's fault or negligence.
Compensation for physical and mental pain and suffering that resulted from the accident 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 event that caused your injury or the death of a loved one to file a civil liability lawsuit, according to KRS 304.390230(1).
What is Criminal Liability?
Criminal lawsuits are initiated by the local government, typically at the city or county level, by the prosecutor, where the defendant is accused of a crime through a formal accusation known as an indictment.
The victim of the crime is not responsible for bringing the case before the court like you do with a civil 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 significantly higher for a criminal case than it is in a civil lawsuit. The government must prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt before a jury of peers.
However, if the defendant is found guilty of criminal charges, this can be used as evidence in a civil liability case.
Call an Experienced Lexington Car Accident Attorney!
Goeing, Goeing & McQuinn PLLC can assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case and help you pursue the maximum amount of compensation for your car accident injuries.. Contact us for a free consultation today!