What is the Difference between Civil, Class-Action, and Criminal Lawsuits?

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There are several types of lawsuits that are handled by courts in Ohio and West Virginia every year. Knowing what type of lawsuit you are involved in can help you determine what compensation you may receive and what consequences the negligent party can face.

Civil Lawsuits

Civil lawsuits occur when a victim holds a responsible party accountable for financial and emotional losses that resulted from a personal injury. Civil lawsuits seek financial compensation only, and do not involve criminal prosecution for negligence. A civil lawsuit can be filed even if the negligent party is found innocent of criminal wrongdoing.

Class-Action Lawsuits

A class-action lawsuit is a civil lawsuit in which charges against a company or individual are filed by several plaintiffs. In a class-action lawsuit, evidence must be provided that indicates a party’s negligence resulted in damages to a large number of people. As a civil lawsuit, class-action lawsuits focus on financial compensation for victims. However, these lawsuits often result in important precedents and policy changes that may increase product safety.

Criminal Lawsuits

A criminal lawsuit focuses on criminal acts, and seeks to impose legal penalties for criminal behavior. A criminal lawsuit focuses on prosecution for illegal acts, with the punishment being things such as jail time and public service rather than compensation for victims. In some criminal cases, restitution for victims is ordered by the court, but financial compensation often requires a civil lawsuit.

If you have been injured in an accident in Ohio or West Virginia and are interested in learning more about your legal rights, please contact Jim Leach, L.C., to schedule an initial consultation today.