Most of the injured clients we work with as a Sacramento personal injury law firm were hurt in a car collision or other accidental event. Such cases are typically brought as claims for negligence, meaning the defendant failed to use the proper level of care or otherwise failed to act in the manner a reasonable person would in a similar situation. However, we also work on cases where our client suffered an injury due to someone else’s intentional wrongdoing. Even when the injury is incurred during criminal conduct, these civil cases are still separate and distinct from the related criminal proceedings. We can help victims of intentional injury recover in civil court.
An Example of Intentional Injury: A Sacramento Carjacking Causes Wrongful Death
One recent headline that reminded us of the threat of intentional harm was the Sacramento Bee’s update on a 2006 carjacking. The term “carjacking” came into use in the 1990s, when news reports warned of automobile thefts that occurred by force while the driver was in or near the vehicle. According to a Sacramento County jury, Taurus Aquarius Baker fatally shot Joseph Wayne Bush during a carjacking attempt that occurred in February 2006. Evidence showed that thirty-eight year old Bush had recently dropped his son off at school when Baker shot and killed him in a shopping center parking lot located at 6051 Mack Road in south Sacramento. A jury convicted Baker of first-degree murder in October and, last Friday, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White sentenced him to 38 years to life in prison.
Understanding Civil Claims Stemming from Intentional Criminal Acts
Many people are unaware of the fact that victims can bring a civil personal injury lawsuit for injuries intentionally caused by another individual or a company. This right also extends to include the ability to bring a wrongful death claim when a family member is killed by an intentional wrongdoing. While less common than negligence cases, these lawsuits are an important part of our civil system. Claims for intentional injury arise when a purposeful action (or, in some cases, inaction) causes physical and/or emotional harm. The victim, or family member in the case of a fatality, can bring a civil suit seeking financial compensation for this injury. It is important to note that a civil claim may succeed even if a criminal case failed to lead to conviction. One famous example is the successful wrongful death case by the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman against O.J. Simpson following the failure to convict him on criminal murder charges.
What types of intentional action might lead to a civil claim? Examples include, but are not limited to: sexual abuse; elder abuse; assault/battery, and; death caused by criminal conduct. While it is not the focus of this particular post, certain crimes that do not involve injury can give rise to related, non-injury civil claims (i.e. breach of fiduciary duty, slander, or fraud). The Brod Firm does represent businesses in such lawsuits.
Who can be sued for intentional injury? The most obvious defendant is the person who committed the crime, such as a civil wrongful death claim filed against the carjacker who killed Joseph Wayne Bush. However, there can be other defendants. For example, a civil lawsuit could be filed where a property owner provided inadequate security, allowing a criminal act to occur on the premises. It is important to consider all parties that may bear responsibility for an intentional injury, especially where the perpetrator of the crime lacks the financial means to pay a civil judgment.
The Brod Law Firm
As an experienced Sacramento injury lawyer, Attorney Greg Brod helps injury victims recover financial damages in civil court. This includes those harmed by negligent behavior as well as the victims of intentional crimes. Attorney Brod can help victims consider the role and liability of all responsible parties, including the criminal perpetrator as well as other individuals and companies who played a role in allowing the injury or wrongful death to occur.
Working with the prosecutors on a criminal case is important, but it is not your only legal right. Call to arrange a free consultation to discuss the civil side of the justice system.
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(Picture by Bruce Bortin)