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An inebriated driver with their head on the steering wheel after hitting another car.If you were in a car accident caused by someone else’s actions, you might wonder if the other driver will face criminal charges for their behavior and how that will impact your ability to receive compensation. Filing a personal injury claim against the driver responsible for your injuries allows you to seek compensation for your losses from the other driver’s insurance company, but that isn’t the same thing as bringing a criminal case against the driver.

Depending on the circumstance surrounding your accident, there may be questions about whether the at-fault driver has committed a crime or not. While there are numerous reasons why a criminal charge might be brought against a driver, a criminal case isn’t necessary for a victim to seek compensation for the damage they suffered. That means even if the driver who injured you didn’t break the law, you could still seek compensation by filing a civil claim.

Seeking Compensation After a Car Accident

Even if no criminal charges are brought against the person who caused the collision, you can still pursue compensation for your injury. Personal injury lawsuits allow victims to seek reimbursement from the person who injured them. This reimbursement can be for medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering.

A crime doesn’t have to be committed in order to file a personal injury case, which takes place in civil court. In fact, any criminal charges filed against the defendant must be addressed in criminal court, not civil court. Only civil liability, which is the legal responsibility to pay for damage caused, is determined in civil court.

Understand Your Legal Options

Car accidents can leave you wondering what steps to take to protect yourself and seek compensation for your losses. Situations where you don’t know if the other party is facing criminal charges are even more confusing. If you’re like most drivers, you aren’t sure what your legal rights are following an accident, which makes the situation even more overwhelming.

Schedule a Consultation With a Personal Injury Lawyer

Talking to a trustworthy car accident lawyer is the wisest thing you can do following a car accident. A lawyer can help you evaluate your options and pursue compensation for your injuries. Once you have a lawyer involved, the insurance company will need to contact them regarding your personal injury claim, allowing you to recover from your injury without being hassled by adjusters.

What Is the Difference Between a Civil Case and a Criminal Case?

Civil and criminal cases are different in one critical way. A civil case addresses a dispute between two individuals or parties. For example, in a personal injury case, one driver might sue the other for reimbursement of their medical bills and property damage caused by the car accident. The plaintiff (injured party) holds the burden of proof in a civil case, and they must convince the court that their case is most likely true in order to receive a favorable judgment.

Alternatively, the government is bringing legal action against an individual in a criminal case because they broke the law. When criminal charges are brought against an individual, the individual is presumed innocent until they have been proven guilty. During a criminal trial, the prosecution (U.S. attorney) holds the burden of proof and must prove the defendant (responsible party) is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Stakes Are Higher in a Criminal Trial

The burden of proof is harder to achieve in criminal court because the consequences are more severe. Car accident cases in civil court involve injured victims seeking fair compensation from the negligent party. Since the plaintiff is simply trying to recover damages, there is a lower burden of proof because the consequences are financial.

In car accident cases where criminal charges are brought against a driver, the charged party could face consequences such as community service, license suspension, or jail time. The circumstances surrounding the collision impact the severity of the consequences.

Criminal Charges

A criminal lawsuit might be brought against a drunk driver or a driver who behaved recklessly. An accident where an individual kills or grievously injures another person is more likely to result in a criminal charge. If a driver is found guilty, they could be charged with vehicular manslaughter, reckless driving, gross negligence, or driving under the influence, depending on the accident’s circumstances.

Criminal charges could also be affected by whether the individual was driving commercially. For example, a truck driver driving under the influence while working will likely face more severe penalties than an intoxicated driver in their personal car.

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help?

To receive the maximum compensation following a collision, you’ll have to prove fault and show evidence proving the other party is responsible. In criminal cases, the police investigate the accident scene, but in a civil case, the plaintiff is responsible for providing evidence proving the defendant is at fault for the accident.

Investigating the Collision

When you hire a lawyer, they will look into the circumstances surrounding the crash, search for signs that gross negligence contributed to the collision, and find medical experts to support the validity of your claim. Evidence supporting your version of what happened during the accident could include photos of the accident scene, the police report from the accident, or statements from witnesses.

Building a Strong Case

Your lawyer will compile this information and craft a case demonstrating how the other party’s negligence harmed you and should be compensated for your healthcare bills and damage to your vehicle. Since both drivers will likely have differing opinions on what occurred and who was at fault, the lawyer will use their collected evidence to prove the factual version of events.

A solid case is essential to receiving the maximum compensation for your personal injury claim. The more robust your case is, the more challenging it will be for the other party’s insurance company to refute your claim.

Giving You Time to Heal

When you’ve been severely injured in a collision, your focus must be on recovering, not gathering evidence and building a case. Depending on the accident’s severity, you may need psychological treatment to work through anxiety or other negative emotions provoked by the crash.

Car crashes can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Among the general population, motor vehicle collisions are the most common cause of PTSD. Hiring a lawyer allows you to focus your mental and psychical energy on recuperating from the accident instead of negotiating with the insurance company.

Don’t let someone’s reckless driving behavior leave you with the bill for an accident that isn’t your fault. Instead, contact Brian C. Gutierrez at 979-271-5338 to schedule your free consultation and have confidence that your personal injury case is in good hands. You deserve to be reimbursed for the losses you suffered as a result of the collision.

If you have been injured in a car accident in College Station, Bryan, Madisonville, Huntsville, Buffalo, Caldwell, Navasota, Buffalo, Rockdale, Hempstead, or Brenham, it is important to speak with a lawyer who can help you understand your rights and guide you through the claims process. At the Law Office of Brian C. Gutierrez, Attorney Brian Gutierrez is committed to providing personalized legal services for victims of car accidents. When you work with our firm, you are working directly with Attorney Gutierrez. Our clients are like familycontact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about the services we offer.

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“No words describe how amazing it is to work with Brian.” J.T.

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