Criminal vs. Civil Cases

The Difference between Criminal and Civil Cases in California Courts

Skilled Los Angeles Injury Attorneys Answer Your Questions about the Justice System

It is imperative to understand the differences between the criminal case and the civil case as each relates to a victim of sex abuse. To get more detailed answers, please call our Los Angeles law firm at 310-776-6390.

Criminal Cases in California

The criminal case is brought by the district attorney’s (D.A.) office against the perpetrator. The D.A. is not the lawyer for the victim, but rather is the lawyer for “the people.” Sometimes, what is in the best interests of the D.A. is not necessarily in the best interests of the victim.

Criminal cases ultimately result in the perpetrator being convicted of a crime and being sentenced to jail time. Sometimes financial restitution is awarded to the victim, but that is usually a relatively modest amount and can only be collected from the perpetrator, who usually has no significant assets.

Criminal cases do not punish the perpetrator’s employer, who may have improperly or unreasonably supervised or employed the perpetrator which allowed the perpetrator to take advantage of the situation and molest or assault the victim.

Civil Cases in California

A civil case is one in which the victim sues not only the perpetrator, but any other entity that was responsible in some way for the perpetrator’s acts. Schools, churches, youth organizations and sports leagues can be sued in civil cases.

The victim must retain a child sexual abuse attorney to pursue a civil case for a child, or an experienced sexual abuse and assault attorney for adult cases. The plaintiff’s attorney’s sole interest is what is in the best interests of the victim.

It is imperative that the victim or the victim’s relatives speak to a civil lawyer as soon as possible after learning of the crimes committed.

The statute of limitations (deadlines) for filing a civil lawsuit is not delayed just because a criminal case is pending. The D.A. will discourage the victim from consulting with a civil plaintiff’s lawyer for various reasons. It is imperative that the victim talk to a plaintiff’s lawyer promptly to avoid having the civil lawsuit barred by missing the filing deadline.

Bringing a Civil Case on Behalf of Our Clients

Finally, civil child sexual abuse cases usually result in a settlement in which monetary compensation is paid to the victim in exchange for the dismissal of the lawsuit. The compensation paid can be substantial — in the millions of dollars — because of the serious harm done to the victim by the perpetrator and the perpetrator’s employer. This is compensation that cannot be obtained in any criminal case. It can only be obtained through a civil lawsuit.

Experienced Los Angeles Attorneys Advocating for Clients in Civil Courts

If you were hurt, abused or assault by another person, you have rights under the law. At Taylor & Ring, we seek justice for our clients through the civil court system. Call us at 310-776-6390 to speak with one of our Los Angeles sexual assault and injury lawyers today, or fill out our contact form to find out more about criminal vs. civil cases, and to discuss if you have a civil case.

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