When a drunk driver hits a pedestrian on a Chicago street, the driver may be arrested for his dangerous conduct. While arresting a dangerous person is a good way to keep him from harming others, putting a person into the criminal justice system may seem to preclude the victim’s ability to seek out compensation from dangerous individual through a civil lawsuit. This is generally not the case, as civil and criminal matters can both proceed against an individual whose criminal conduct caused personal injury or harm to a victim or victims.
Criminal matters address harm caused by individuals in violation of laws that were established to protect the public. Civil matters, however, address the losses people face when other parties’ negligence and recklessness cause losses and harm. Since many criminal actions inflict bodily injury on victims, it is possible for a criminal defendant to face civil liability as well for losses arising from a single action. One reason this is possible is because civil lawsuits have a lower standard of proof compared to criminal actions.
One of the most famous examples of a person facing both civil and criminal actions based on his alleged criminal conduct is OJ Simpson. The former football star was charged with killing his wife and her friend. Although he was acquitted of the murder charges, the victims’ families sued Simpson in civil court for their loved ones’ wrongful deaths. Simpson was found to be civilly liable for the deaths even though a prosecutor was unable to prove the murder charges filed against him.
Crimes happen all across Chicago. Unfortunately, during the commission of those crimes innocent people are often hurt. The American justice system accommodates the pursuit of claims against people who violate both public laws and personal rights to safety through criminal and civil lawsuits. To learn more about initiating civil claims based on losses suffered by the alleged commission of crimes, readers can reach out to their personal injury attorneys.