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Q&A: Can the same incident result in both a criminal case and a civil case?

May 30, 2020

That depends on whether or not your definition of criminal cases includes violations of the traffic code. It’s quite common for the same collision to result in both a traffic citation and a civil lawsuit.

Outside of traffic offenses, it’s not as common but does happen when the crime has injured a third party.

In Kentucky, we have a statute that reads:

A person injured by the violation of any statute may recover from the offender such damages as he sustained by reason of the violation, although a penalty or forfeiture is imposed for such violation.

KRS 446.070. That means even if a criminal has been fined or gone to jail for a crime that injured you, you can still sue the criminal to recover your damages.

Many civil suits are premised on the claim that the defendant has violated a state statute and the plaintiff has been injured by this violation, although again these are usually motor-vehicle collisions or other situations where the defendant likely has liability coverage in effect.

Note that deliberate torts are generally excluded from coverage by insurers — you can’t buy personal-liability insurance and then go beating people up expecting their claims will be covered. For that, Kentucky’s Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund may be able to provide help. See http://cvcb.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx.

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We often handle cases referred to us by other attorneys. If you have a prospective client with a personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, or nursing home case, we may be able to work with you in providing a resolution.

This is a blog post, not specific legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is intended or created.