Yes! Even if the driver who hit you is facing criminal charges, you can still seek compensation for your injuries by filing an insurance claim or by bringing a civil lawsuit in court. You can pursue your claim for compensation even if the criminal case is still pending in court. You may be entitled to compensation from the driver even if he or she is acquitted of the charges. Criminal cases for drunk driving are separate from civil lawsuits and differ from them in two important ways. First, the criminal charges are filed by the state prosecutor’s office. However, you and your lawyer file the civil lawsuit directly, giving you more control over when, where, and how it is filed. Second, in a criminal case, a person who is found guilty may face penalties like fines, jail time, probation, community service, and other requirements. In a civil case, however, a person who is found liable will be expected to pay only money damages to compensate you for your losses. It’s also important to remember that the burden of proof is lower in a civil case than a criminal case. Because criminal and civil cases can interact in complex ways, it’s important to talk to a lawyer if there is a criminal case against the drunk driver who injured you. Your lawyer can help ensure your rights and interests are protected as both cases proceed.
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