If a criminal case and a personal injury case stem from the same events or actions, then a criminal conviction greatly strengthens the civil lawsuit. Yet many people still do not seek compensation for injuries or damages caused by criminal actions. This is mainly because such actions are rarely covered by insurance, and the defendants may not have the resources to pay for the judgment; this makes it difficult to collect judgment even if you win such a case. Fortunately, there are still a few cases where it makes sense to pursue compensation for criminal actions; here are three such examples:
Crime Occurring On Business Premises
If you are attacked and injured on a business' premises, then you can file a personal injury claim against the business if you believe that its negligence led to your injuries. This is based on the legal theory of premises liability, which holds that a business is expected to provide a reasonable level of safety for its visitors.
For example, if you are attacked in a dark parking lot (perhaps the lights were broken) belonging to a shopping mall, then you can argue that the business' failure to light up the area led to your injuries. You can have a strong case if your attacker is caught and convicted of the crime.
Injuries Caused By Drunk Drivers
Driving while intoxicated is a crime, but it is one of the few crimes whose resultant injuries are covered by insurance. Therefore, if a drunk driver knocks you (a pedestrian) over, or crashes into your car, then it is still worthwhile to pursue a personal injury claim against him or her. This is because his or her insurance company will pay for the damages. In fact, you can use the DUI conviction to prove to the insurance company that its client was responsible for your injuries, and you should be compensated.
Institutional Child Abuse
Child abuse is a serious crime. When a worker, manager or any person associated with an institution molests a child, he or she will be prosecuted for his or her crime. If you are a parent to such a child, however, you don't have to stop with the criminal prosecution of the abuser. You can pursue an injury claim against the relevant institution.
Whether or not your injury case proceeds depend on the whether the institution's negligence led to the abuse. For example, if a daycare facility hired a known sex offender, and the offender abused your child, then you have a strong case against the facility.
You shouldn't dismiss an injury case if the injuries are related to a crime. As the examples above indicate, your lawyer may identify other parties (besides the criminal) liable for your injuries. The DUI example also shows that there may be exceptions to the general rule that insurance companies do not pay for criminal acts. For more information, contact a professional such as James Lee Katz.