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What is the difference between a civil case and a criminal case?

When you file an auto accident case, it will be heard in civil court. There are two main branches of courts: civil courts and criminal courts.

Criminal Court

The criminal court handles matters of criminal cases, where an individual has violated the law and will be prosecuted by the state. The potential penalties include incarceration, fines, and probation for crimes against the public.

Civil Court

In civil court, the primary remedy is monetary. These courts handle all non-criminal disputes, such as contract disputes, property, divorce, and personal injury. In a car accident case, the victim is seeking monetary compensation from the insurance company for the negligent driver. This claim will be filed in civil court, but the attorney will usually attempt to settle the case outside of court.

In some car accident cases, the person responsible will have committed a criminal act that causes the accident. Things like reckless driving, operating without a license, or driving while intoxicated will have a criminal case that is separate from your car accident claim. These two cases will be separate; however, criminal conduct will often be a strong indicator of negligence in your civil claim.