Filing a Civil Suit

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Victims of a crime, no matter what the verdict of the criminal’s trial was, can file a civil action lawsuit against the defendant. In a civil trial against criminals or third parties involved in a crime, the defendants are not sent to jail, but it is determined whether or not the defendant is liable for the injuries sustained as a result of the crime. If a defendant is found civilly liable then the courts may order the defendant to pay the plaintiff monetary compensation for the injuries incurred. The money paid out in civil suits won’t always be enough for the crime that was committed but it will be enough to help the victim get their life back in order. Civil lawsuits can be filed for almost any crime that has been committed and they can be filed no matter what the verdict was against the defendant in a criminal prosecution lawsuit. Civil lawsuits can be filed against a first party or third party defendant in a case. Crimes such as rape, sexual assault, assault and battery, wrongful death, negligence and much more can have civil lawsuits filed involving them. Just like all other filed lawsuits, when a verdict is reached, the judgment has to be satisfied by the defendant to the plaintiff. The judgment can be monetary or in another form.

The majority of civil lawsuits involve personal injury cases such as loss of limb, assault and battery, and much more. Personal injury lawsuits involve the victim (plaintiff) and the defendant (attacker). Other civil lawsuits that can be filed involve trespassing, negligence, product liability and medical malpractice. After the judgment has been announced by the judge, the defendant needs to pay the plaintiff whatever the judge decided is a fair payment. The following is a list of ways that a judgment can be satisfied:

  • Seize perpetrator's income from:
  1. Wages
  2. Benefits
  3. Dispersal from trust funds, royalties, rents
  4. Tax refunds and government entitlements
  5. Windfalls - inheritance, civil judgments, even lotteries
  • Cars, Boats, Jewelry, and other personal possessions
  1. Real Estate
  2. Business Interests
  3. Bank Accounts
  4. Financial Holdings - stocks and bonds
  5. All other debts owed offender 
  • Insurance Policies
  1. Homeowner's Insurance
  2. Automobile Insurance
  3. Personal Liability Insurance
  4. Business Insurance
  5. Professional Malpractice Insurance

Civil suit attorneys will be able to help any plaintiff decided when is the best time to file a civil lawsuit against a defendant. Most civil lawsuits take a long period of time to play out, with a majority of civil lawsuit cases lasting well over one year before going to trial or before a settlement is reached between the parties involved in the lawsuit. The victim of a crime needs to make an important decision before filing a civil lawsuit because filing such a lawsuit can lead to a second trial for the victim, following the original criminal prosecution trial. A second trial for a victim of a crime might be too much to deal with emotionally.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice or representation,
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