If you're the victim of a crime that causes serious bodily injury, a personal injury lawyer can help you pursue civil litigation to recover damages. This civil litigation can be filed after the criminal case is settled, even if you receive punitive damages.
Here's how a personal injury lawyer can help you get the financial resources you need to recover from a serious injury.
Filing After a Guilty Verdict
If the individual(s) who injured you are found guilty in criminal court, your personal injury lawyer needs to prove that the injuries exceed the punitive damages awarded in the case.
- Fallout: Most criminal cases involving personal injuries are assaults and car accidents. Even when you're awarded punitive damages during a criminal proceeding, those damages may only account for physical injuries you sustained. Unfortunately, many personal injuries have fallout that extends beyond immediate medical bills. From your income earning potential to your ability to provide care for your loved ones, a personal injury can fundamentally change how you live your life.
- Filing: Your personal injury lawyer can successfully litigate a civil lawsuit if they can prove that your personal injuries amount to far more than what you were awarded during the criminal case. Making these claims tangible and quantifiable becomes the most difficult part of building these types of civil lawsuits. You may need detailed financial records to show exactly how your income changed after the personal injury. You might also need to include statements from a counselor and physical therapist to show how your quality of life changed after the personal injury.
Filing After an Acquittal or Not Guilty Verdict
Just because someone isn't found criminally responsible for a personal injury doesn't mean that you can't file a civil lawsuit.
- Liability: Proving that an individual bears responsibility for your personal injury is the burden of proof your attorney will need to convince a jury to award you damages. To build a case for liability, particularly when the other party was not charged with a crime, your personal injury will often argue for negligence. In civil cases, negligence amounts to carelessness and a disregard for the safety of others. To prove negligence, your personal injury lawyer will need to reconstruct the incident to show the deliberate steps that led to your personal injury. Any evidence—pictures, video, eye witness testimony, police reports, insurance documents, and medical records—should be handed over to your personal injury lawyer immediately.
Contact a company like Siben & Siben LLP for more information.