A few weeks ago, we posted a blog post about the difference between a criminal case filed by a prosecutor’s office and a civil case that is filed by the victim of a crime. In both types of cases, the defendant is potentially liable for the harm they caused, with the difference between the two types of cases coming mostly from whose rights are being vindicated. In short, a criminal case seeks to punish the defendant for a wrong committed against society as a whole, whereas a civil case is focused on the particular victim of that specific crime.Generally speaking, if an Alabama crime victim hopes to obtain financial compensation for the harm they have suffered, they will file an Alabama personal injury lawsuit. This post discusses a booklet designed to help Alabama crime victims and will describe several of the steps involved in filing a civil case. Of course, it is strongly advised that anyone considering filing an Alabama personal injury lawsuit reach out to a dedicated personal injury attorney prior to doing so.
When to File a Personal Injury Case
In general, Alabama law requires that a personal injury case be filed within two years of the injury. However, if the accident victim was a minor at the time they were injured, the claim will generally not expire until two years after the victim’s 19th birthday.
Types of Civil Lawsuits
While specific acts are made illegal by a state criminal statute, many crimes have a corresponding civil claim. For example, assault, battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud are all potential civil claims. In addition, the broad claim of negligence encompasses any situation in which a party’s negligent conduct resulted in the victim’s injuries. This includes claims like negligent hiring or negligent security.
Defenses in Alabama Civil Cases
Alabama crime victims should be prepared to face any of the available defenses that the other party may raise. One common defense is called contributory negligence, whereby a defendant can escape liability if he can establish that the plaintiff was also negligent in causing his own injuries. This is a very strict rule that can act to completely bar a plaintiff’s recovery. Other common defenses include self-defense, assumption of the risk, and immunity.
The Stages of an Alabama Civil Lawsuit
Once a case is filed, the court will order pre-trial discovery. This is a stage at which both sides can request evidence that they believe the other party may have. Once a judge orders that a document or piece of evidence is discoverable, the party in possession of the evidence must provide it to the party that requested it, even if the evidence is not favorable to the party in possession.
After pre-trial discovery is complete, the case may be settled out of court. If so, the plaintiff voluntarily dismisses the case as a part of the agreement. If not, the case will proceed toward trial, where a judge or jury will render a decision and determine the appropriate amount of damages, if any.
Have You Been a Victim of an Alabama Crime?
If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of a crime, such as sexual assault, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries through an Alabama personal injury lawsuit. Attorney Greg Reeves has extensive experience working with accident victims and their families in pursuing full and fair compensation for their injuries. To schedule a free consultation with Attorney Reeves to discuss your case, call 256-355-3311. Calling is free, and you will not be billed for any services provided unless Attorney Reeves can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.