Most people are familiar with the concept of a “crime.” But did you know that if you are injured as a result of a crime, you may be entitled to money damages from the person who broke the law?
To commit a crime, a person, known as a “defendant,” breaks a law. He or she enters a “guilty” or “not guilty” plea. If a “not guilty” plea is entered, the defendant must be found guilty of the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” A trial takes place, and the person leading the state’s case against the defendant is known as the “prosecutor.” If the defendant is convicted of the crime, he or she will be punished. Punishments include things like jail or prison time and the payment of fines. All of this takes place in the context of the criminal justice system.
There is also an area of law known as “civil law,” which involves “disputes between private citizens.” Two examples of disputes in this area include lawsuits involving medical malpractice and bad car accident cases.
Sometimes, actions that are against the law (and therefore crimes) are also considered “civil wrongs” for which a person can bring a lawsuit. For example, imagine that you get into an argument with your neighbor. During the dispute, your neighbor takes a swing at you, breaking your job.
In all likelihood, your neighbor committed the crimes of battery by hitting you. If the state decides to prosecute the offense, she could end up in jail. In addition, however, your neighbor has committed a civil wrong against you as a citizen. This is called a “tort.” You can bring a private lawsuit against your neighbor to recover money damages for the medical bills you had to pay, any time off work, and your pain and suffering.
If you or a family member have been wrongfully injured in an accident, call us at 888.777.1776 or use our online contact form. Delays can hurt your case, so please don’t wait.