A person who is charged with a crime can be sued in a civil lawsuit for damages that are the result of the crime. Typically, the defendant will be tried in a criminal trial before a civil lawsuit can go forward. The outcome of the criminal trial is not supposed to influence the outcome of a civil trial. For example, if someone is found innocent in a criminal trial, they can still be sued for damages in a civil trial. Even though a person may be acquitted in a criminal trial, if the plaintiff can prove that their negligent, malicious or reckless actions caused them harm, the plaintiff may be awarded compensation that the defendant is supposed to pay.

Personal Injury

Many civil lawsuits fall under the umbrella of personal injury lawsuits. A personal injury lawsuit comes about when a person who has become ill or injured because of a defendant’s or defendants’ negligence, recklessness or malice. There are many different specialty areas of law that personal injury attorneys will usually focus on one or a few of, and within many of these specialty areas there are even more specific specialty areas. Examples of common civil law practice areas include but are not limited to:

Medical Malpractice

When a healthcare provider and/or healthcare facility’s
negligence or malice causes a patient to be injured or to become ill, the party or
parties who caused this may be liable for expenses related to the victim’s injury
or illness.

Common medical malpractice personal injury claims are: Prescription errors,
misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, surgical errors, anesthesia errors, nursing
home abuse and/or neglect, etc.

Premise Liability

When a property owner’s, or in some cases a lessee
manager’s, negligence in the maintenance and upkeep of their property results in the injury or illness of a tenant or guest of the property, they may be liable for expenses related to the victim’s injury or illness.

Common premise liability personal injury claims are the result of: Slip and fall accidents; trip and fall accidents; swimming pool accidents; injuries that are the result of poor or inadequate security, lighting, safety features, safety signage and warnings, etc.; snow and ice related accidents; elevator accidents; illness from asbestos and other hazardous materials; etc.

Consumer Liability

If a product or service injures a consumer in the U.S., the
injured consumer may be entitled to compensation from the party or parties that
made the product or service available to the public to purchase. Consumer liability cases, many of which are considered to be faulty or dangerous product cases, often involve more than one defendant because more than one party may have played a part in making the product available to the public. An example of this is that very often designers, engineers, manufacturers, assemblers, wholesalers and/or distributors are partially (or fully) responsible for contributing to a dangerous product’s availability to consumers.

Common consumer liability claims include products such as: automobiles and automobile parts; recreational vehicles, including boats; baby products; infant and children’s clothing; toys; electronic devices; pool and spa equipment; foods bought in supermarkets, cafes, restaurants, bars, and on cruise ships etc.; household appliances; tools and other equipment used for repairs and improvements; etc.

There are many areas of civil law that do not fall under the umbrella of personal injury claims.