If you have been injured in a car accident and filed a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver, it’s important to understand what can happen. One of the things that can occur is that criminal charges can come into play as well. For example, if the driver responsible for the crash is found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol, they can have both civil and criminal claims filed against them.
Whatever the situation, if another driver is at fault for the accident that led to your injuries, you have the legal right to compensation. At the same time, it’s important to know that if both civil and criminal charges are filed against the individual, the two cases will be handled separately in different courts. It is important that you retain the services of an experienced car accident attorney to make sure that you are properly represented and that you properly maximize your compensation.
Sometimes when criminal cases are involved there is a delay in getting the police report. When there is not a police report available, the insurance company will often delay making a settlement offer. This is why it is important to have an experienced car accident attorney on your side because they are able to assist you with medical expenses, property damage and even a rental car. Also the attorneys can sometimes help in collecting the necessary information and evidence to the insurance company to help speed up the process of making a decision on the claim. This will often help the client get the monies needed to help pay for medical issues and property damages.
What are the Differences Between Civil and Criminal Cases?
In a civil claim stemming from a car accident, you simply recover losses for damage you suffer as a direct result of the crash. The at-fault driver is liable for compensating you for the following:
- Medical bills
- Ongoing medical treatment
- Lost wages and loss of benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of quality of life
- Permanent disability and impairment
Your car accident attorney will be able to assess the strength of your case and provide you guidance when it comes to the civil side of things.
If there is a criminal case against the driver, certain penalties are imposed against the individual. The judge can choose to order that the defendant enter into alcohol treatment and probation. Often, a person convicted of DUI will have to get an ignition interlock device placed on their vehicle and their license is suspended for a set time depending on the circumstances. Certain other penalties may also be handed down.
Can a Criminal Conviction Help with a Personal Injury Claim?
A car accident and personal injury claim are based on the theory of fault. That means retaining a car accident attorney is imperative if you have suffered injuries in a crash and want to file a personal injury claim. As the plaintiff, you are required to prove that the other driver was negligent or behaved recklessly while behind the wheel and, therefore, is directly responsible for your injuries. It is also necessary to prove that the other driver owed a duty of care and caused your injuries due to breaching that duty.
At the same time, you should know that the outcome of a criminal case, even if the defendant is convicted, doesn’t determine the outcome of your personal injury claim. Likewise, the defendant can be found not guilty in the criminal case but still held liable for your injuries in your civil claim.
Will Insurance Pay for the Accident?
If your case involves a driver who committed a DUI, you may look toward the insurance company to recover compensation in your personal injury claim. Unfortunately, many insurers try to minimize their settlement offers to injured victims.
If your case is a strong one with sufficient evidence, it’s easier for your car accident attorney to prove fault. Additionally, if the other party has a DUI case against them, it can strengthen your case as well. In any case, if negotiations don’t go as planned in your claim, your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
How Can an Attorney Help?
A car accident attorney can use their investigation team to recreate the accident that led to your injuries if the evidence isn’t completely clear. After the facts of the accident are clear, that evidence can be used to prove how the accident occurred and why the other driver is liable. The investigation can definitively prove what happened and how it happened, which can strengthen your claim.
Call our law offices today at any of our convenient locations and get a free consultation.
Arlington (817) 522-4451
Dallas (972) 362-6848
Fort Worth (817) 764-1375
Plano (972) 354-4602
Cedar Hill (972) 338-9427
McKinney (469) 522-3688
Lewisville (972) 354-4605
Frisco (972) 725-7681
Grapevine (817) 835-8677
Irving (972) 354-4610
Keller (817) 204-0904
Garland (214) 572-2251
Denton (940) 222-4060
Addison (972) 564-8108
You can also contact us online by using our quick contact form.