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What’s the Difference Between Civil and Criminal Litigation?

Published on Oct 2, 2018 by Thomas Law Offices.

If you’re looking to hire a lawyer, you may be wondering what kind of lawyer you need. There isn’t only one type of litigation. Cases can be criminal or civil and it’s important to know the differences between these types so you know what to expect for your litigation process.

If you’ve been a victim of negligence, a Louisville personal injury lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help you with your case and will fight to get you a fair settlement. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case. You’ll speak with an experienced lawyer about the merits of your case and the best course of action for you.

What Is Criminal Litigation?

Federal, state, and local courts handle criminal cases, or when there may have been a person that broke the law. The people involved are usually a jury, prosecutor, attorneys, and someone is pressing charges against a party that may have committed a crime. This could include assault, theft, and murder. Those involved in a criminal case are appointed an attorney if they can’t afford one.

Determining guilt in a criminal case needs to be beyond a reasonable doubt because criminal punishments are typically more severe. Usually when someone is found guilty in a criminal case, they may face jail time.

What Is Civil Litigation?

Civil litigation usually involves someone who was wronged and they’re filing charges against the party that they claim wronged them. Civil cases can include product liability, car accident claims, medical malpractice, wrongful death claims, and more. Many civil cases have to do with negligence that causes injury. People who want to bring forward a civil case need to be able to pay for their attorney on their own. They will not be appointed one like those in criminal cases.

Civil causes usually have a judge to decide the outcome. Opposed to a criminal case, a civil case comes down to the preponderance of the evidence, or what the evidence suggests most likely happened. Civil cases aren’t held to the same burden of proof as criminal cases because the results usually aren’t as severe. Outcomes of a civil case is usually a monetary settlement.

With these key differences between criminal and civil litigation, you know what’s involved with both situations. You’ll be able to have realistic expectations of what’s going to happen in your case and how it will work.

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At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out of pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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Tad Thomas on The National Crime Victim Bar Association
National Civil Justice Institute - Trustee
Tad Thomas on Lawyer Minds
Tad Thomas on American Association for Justice
Southern Trial Lawyers Association
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
Ohio Association for Justice
Kentucky Justice Association
Fellows of the Litigation Counsel of America
Martindale Hubbell Preeminent
2021 Public Justice Member
AAJ Masters of Trial Law: Champion