Following an accident, an injury victim may choose to pursue a personal injury case. In general, the intent of a personal injury case is to secure compensation from a defendant that was responsible for the accident. If a plaintiff is successful, the negligent party may be legally required to pay for the injury victim’s medical bills and lost wage expenses, as well as potential “pain and suffering” damages that are meant as further payment for the emotional turmoil the plaintiff faced.
Compensation resulting from a personal injury verdict or settlement is meant to pay victims for the harm inflicted by an accident. In addition to the typical compensations for bills and emotional turmoil, many people wonder if the person who caused their injury will be punished for their negligence in any way.
Typical personal injury cases involve civil litigation, meaning any legal action, if successful, will result in a financial award for the plaintiff. Although rare, a defendant in a personal injury case may be disciplined in the form of punitive damages. Jail time, community service, and other forms of criminal punishment are not issued in civil cases.
If a jury does decide to award punitive damages in a personal injury case, the plaintiff will receive additional compensation that is specifically intended as a punishment for the defendant’s negligence. Punitive damages are typically reserved for cases in which the defendant is found to be grossly negligent, or if it is believed that their actions were intentional.
Can a Negligent Person Face Criminal Charges?
It is possible to pursue a civil personal injury case in conjunction with criminal charges. The potential of a criminal case will depend on the circumstances of a case and if the defendant exhibited any criminal behavior beyond simple negligence. Assaults, pedestrian accidents, and some car accidents (e.g. in cases of drunk or reckless driving) are examples of incidents that could result in criminal charges as well as civil litigation.
If you suffered from an injury caused by someone else’s negligence, contact Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A. to learn how we can recover the compensation you deserve. Call (941) 960-7225 or use our contact form to schedule a free case evaluation.