Whether or not you’re incarcerated doesn’t make you less hurt. Whether or not your incarcerated doesn’t make someone else less hurt either. In these basic ways, incarceration does not impact personal injury law or what will happen as the result of a civil or criminal personal injury case. Where there are differences, though, boils down to logistics and the specifics of each situation. If you or someone you love is involved in a personal injury case where someone is incarcerated, read on for more information on how things may play out.
The severity of the Situation
There is a major difference between criminal and civil law. Even in the area of personal injury, cases become criminal when there is alleged wrongdoing by one party that could have been avoided. While most personal injury suits are civil, they can also turn criminal; leaving the defendant eventually incarcerated or at least in the system.
A workplace injury like the kind you’d seek help from WIN Injury Network for is much different than the type of personal injury claim a person could face when criminal charges are involved. For accidental situations that cause injuries to a person, most cases are settled out of court and through civil suits. These settlements often involve agreements by both the plaintiff and defendant on who will be responsible for medical care for the hurt person or persons. In this way, a civil lawsuit is much different than a criminal suit. Not only does it not mean jail, but generally has a lower burden of proof.
Where things get more serious and could involve incarceration or years of being caught in the criminal justice system on probation is when an injury is caused either intentionally or through negligence. Maybe you’ve been charged with wrongful death after a DUI charge and fatal car accident. Maybe a loved one is incarcerated in the criminal justice system awaiting a verdict after a criminal charge of physical harm to another involving negligence. The first step is to get a good lawyer. If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime and cannot afford a lawyer, in the United States, the court will appoint one for you. While your criminal charges and freedom are at risk, bear in mind that you could also be sued on the civil level as well. One does not replace the other. In general, the rule is the worse the injury, the more serious the case, jail time, and ultimate fines or restitution.
Logistics of Incarceration and Court
Facing a criminal charge and being arrested or incarcerated does not mean you don’t have legal rights. Even if you are facing criminal prosecution, you have a right to participate in your trial and will be escorted to court hearings and appearances. Likewise, if you love someone in this situation, helping an incarcerated relative can be as simple as being in the courtroom when they are set to appear.
While there’s a big gap in how a civil case differs from a criminal case, it doesn’t mean you won’t have a chance to talk to the other side. People who plead guilty and work with prosecutors are likely able to come to an agreed amount of jail time or other punishments without needing to go through trial through a plea deal. No different than how mediation works in a civil suit, you can have these meetings ahead of time through your lawyer. Whether facing jail or in it now, asking about all legal options is important.
Incarceration can complicate how you navigate your personal injury suit. The logistical issues of finding a good lawyer, maintaining a job, and how often you get to see your support system are obviously impacted. Staying connected will likely be the best way to help your mental wellness no matter you were impacted.
No matter how things shake out, keep in mind that all personal injury cases are different. Whether you or someone you love is hurt or are a defendant in a personal injury suit, you will need the help of a professional attorney trained to deal with every potential issue. By doing your homework to find good legal advice and the right fit for you, you are more likely to see the best outcome as your case concludes. If needed, consider getting help from a professional therapist, social worker, and health care provider team, too. The more support you have around you, the better.