Understanding the Difference Between Criminal and Civil Claims Following a Florida Accident

Sometimes, when an accident takes place, the at-fault party faces criminal charges.  However, you may not know that even if the at-fault party is guilty of those criminal charges, you may not receive compensation as the victim of the accident unless you file a separate civil lawsuit successively. Understanding this distinction is crucial, as it directly affects your ability to recover monetarily following a major accident.

According to a recent local news report, a driver who caused an accident that left one individual dead and eight injured likely will not be facing criminal charges. Local police reported that the 75-year-old woman was attempting to parallel park when she suddenly accelerated in reverse, ran over a curb, and hit a parked car before crashing her Bentley into a table with five diners and nearby pedestrians. A 67-year-old man died and eight individuals were injured, but local police reported that there were no signs that the woman was impaired and she will likely only be facing traffic violations. The accident remains under investigation.

Although the woman who caused this Florida accident may not be facing any criminal charges, it does not mean that those who were injured and the survivors of the deceased individual cannot file a civil suit involving personal injury claims separately. Sometimes, when a state’s criminal laws do not hold an at-fault party responsible, suing them for monetary damages is the best way to recover following an accident.

In criminal cases, the at-fault party is prosecuted by the state. Civil cases, however, usually involve disputes between individuals. Thus, if an at-fault party in an accident is successfully prosecuted by the state, they typically receive some kind of punishment, such as a fine paid to the state, jail time, or community service. In successful civil claims, the at-fault party is required to pay compensation to the aggrieved individual or parties directly when the dispute is settled.

It is also important to note that just because someone is criminally charged in relation to an accident, it does not necessarily mean your civil suit will be successful—although it is highly likely that the facts that led to the criminal charges will also support your civil claim and make it more plausible. Likewise, it is also true that an aggrieved party could be successful in obtaining compensation even if there were no criminal charges attached to the at-fault party in an accident. After all, an accident may not have involved any criminal wrongdoing such as driving under the influence but may have involved negligence on the part of the at-fault party, which could give rise to a personal injury lawsuit.

Do You Need a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you or someone you know was recently injured or killed in a Florida personal injury accident, contact the lawyers at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada today. Our lawyers fight for the injured and will provide you with the expertise and peace of mind you need to pursue your claim with ease. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us at 877-448-8585.

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