Criminal and personal injury case occurring after accident

Criminal Case & Personal Injury Case – What to Consider When Both Occur After an Accident

By Greg Kohn

A personal injury is harm to your body, emotions, or reputation. Personal injury cases seek compensation for injuries and damages. Most claims are settled through negotiations with the party who caused the injury. However, some personal injury cases result in lawsuits filed in civil court.

Personal injuries arise from accidents and other incidents. A personal injury may also arise from an intentional tort. Intentional torts can include assault and murder. A personal injury case could arise from a DUI accident. These actions can result in the at-fault party being charged with a crime. Our New Jersey personal injury lawyer discusses what to consider when a criminal case results in a personal injury case.

Criminal Cases vs. Personal Injury Cases in New Jersey

A state or local prosecutor chooses whether to pursue a criminal case. The prosecutor files charges and the person is arrested if they have not already been arrested. The case proceeds through the criminal court system. If a person is convicted of or pleads guilty to a crime, a judge in criminal court sentences them to one or more penalties. Criminal penalties can include fines, prison, restitution, probation, etc. 

A personal injury case is a civil matter. When parties do not settle a personal injury claim, the injured party may file a lawsuit. The lawsuit proceeds through the civil court. Most personal injury lawsuits are tried before juries. The jury decides whether the injured party (plaintiff) has proven their case. If so, the jurors decide how much to award the injured party for damages. 

Is My New Jersey Personal Injury Case Dependent on the Outcome of a Criminal Case?

When a personal injury case arises from a criminal offense, the cases are separate. Neither case depends on the other case. You can file a personal injury claim even if the prosecutor decides not to pursue charges, the judge dismisses the criminal charges, or a jury acquits the person. The personal injury case is decided based on the legal elements of the cause of action.

However, your personal injury attorney monitors the criminal case. Some evidence in the criminal case could be used in the personal injury case. Otherwise, the personal injury case is based on negligence, intentional torts, strict liability, or another civil cause of action. The evidence must prove that legal ground for liability before the injured party can recover damages.

What Are Damages in a New Jersey Personal Injury Case?

The civil court cannot undo what happened to you. Instead, the law provides compensatory damages. The damages compensate you for your economic damages or financial losses. Those damages include lost wages, property damage, out-of-pocket expenses, and medical bills.

You can also receive non-economic damages or “pain and suffering” damages. These damages include emotional distress, physical pain, and mental anguish. If you sustained a permanent impairment, you can receive compensation for ongoing and future damages such as diminished quality of life, decreased earning capacity, and loss of enjoyment of life.

The value of damages depends on the facts of your case. A personal injury lawyer helps you maximize your damages to increase how much your case is worth. 

Schedule a Free Consultation With a New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney 

Our New Jersey personal injury attorneys at Nagel Rice, LLP, have experience handling personal injury cases arising from criminal offenses. Contact our law firm to request a free case evaluation with an attorney. We want to help you receive maximum compensation for your injuries and damages.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.