How a Criminal Prosecution Can Help Your Personal Injury Case

Posted on in Personal Injury

By Timothy Tomasik

criminal prosecution for personal injury, Chicago personal injury lawyersIt is quite common for criminal actions – that is, those actions and activities that are described as crimes – to cause harm to one or more victims. The harm that these criminal activities causes can be the subject of a civil case that is filed around the same time as a criminal case is filed. There are some important differences between a civil case and a criminal case, even when they are based on the same facts:

  • A criminal trial must be held within a specific period of time or else the defendant’s right to a speedy trial is violated;
  • At a criminal trial, the defendant’s guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt; and
  • The defendant has a constitutional right not to testify at a criminal trial.

Why Postponing Your Civil Case Until After a Criminal Case Concludes May Be The Best Move

It is natural to be anxious after you or your property is injured and to want immediate compensation for your losses. The thought of postponing the prosecution of your civil case may be hard to consider. However, there are many advantages to doing so, including:

  • Being able to use a guilty finding at a later civil trial: Illinois law is clear – and has been clear for several decades – that where a criminal trial is conducted and the issues fully litigated, there is no need to re-litigate the issues at a subsequent civil trial. Instead, the guilty finding of the jury can, in many cases, be introduced at the civil trial and used to establish civil liability.
  • Having additional resources to conduct an investigation: Your civil attorney should always conduct an independent investigation into the facts of your injury or loss. However, he or she can also make use of the investigations conducted by law enforcement agencies. Attending the criminal trial and hearing the prosecution’s evidence can sometimes lead to the discovery of additional evidence for the civil trial in case the criminal trial ends in a “not guilty” verdict.
  • Being able to learn the defense’s strategies ahead of time: It is common for a defendant to use the same defense in both his or her criminal trial and any subsequent trial. If you allow the criminal trial to play out first, you and your attorney can learn what defenses the defendant may try to raise in a civil trial. This can help you and your attorney better prepare for the civil trial.

Tomasik Kotin Kasserman, LLC – Your Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers

It is vital that you have your personal injury case examined by a personal injury attorney like the experienced Chicago personal injury attorneys at Tomasik Kotin Kasserman, LLC, especially if there is a criminal proceeding that is going on. We will decide with you whether waiting for the criminal matter to conclude is in your best interest or whether your civil case should proceed immediately. Contact us for assistance in making these important legal choices by calling us at (312) 605-8800.


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