How Criminal Charges Affect Car Crash Injury Cases
Criminal convictions can be used to prove liability in personal injury cases
In personal injury cases—especially traffic accident cases—the defendant may be facing both criminal charges and a civil action. It is important to understand the differences between these two as well as how the criminal case may affect the civil case of an individual seeking compensation for car crash injuries.
Possible Types of Criminal Charges
There are several different types of criminal charges that may apply to a car crash. When these charges indicate that the driver who caused the crash was reckless, negligent, or had bad intent, this can help to prove liability for personal injury in civil court. For example, a DUI charge could support an argument of negligence per se, while a vehicular manslaughter charge could support fault due to recklessness or bad intent depending on the circumstances.
Benefits for Your Attorney
When criminal charges are brought against the person who caused your accident, this can be a big benefit to your attorney in their efforts to craft the most effective arguments possible. The criminal proceeding will essentially give your attorney a preview of the defense’s strategy as well as much of their evidence.
Impact of a Conviction
If the defendant in your personal injury case has been convicted of any criminal offense that relates to fault in your car accident, this conviction can be admitted as evidence in your case. The court will take a certified conviction as proof of liability for whatever damages you may have. However, you will still need to present convincing evidence to justify the amount of damages you are seeking. You may also need to disprove any allegations that you should be held partially liable for the accident in order to secure the full amount of your damages.
Different Standards of Proof
Remember, the criminal justice system requires a higher standard of proof than a civil proceeding. While a criminal defendant only needs to show that there is a reasonable doubt as to their guilt, a defendant in a personal injury case needs to show that they are not guilty by a preponderance of the evidence. Therefore, even if an individual has been found not guilty in criminal court of an offense such as DUI or vehicular manslaughter, this does not automatically mean that plaintiffs cannot win a civil case against them.
Get Compensation for Your Car Crash Injuries
Whether or not criminal charges are involved in your case, you can rely on Fernando D. Vargas to fight aggressively to secure the compensation you deserve for your car crash injuries. Call now to schedule a free initial consultation.