If you have a criminal record and now have suffered a personal injury, it is important for you to know that your past crime is not related at all to your personal injury claim. However, you must be worried that, should your case get to court, the jury will take your past the wrong way and shed an unfavorable light on it.
How can your criminal history impact your case?
If, for example, you were charged with a DUI over ten years ago, the likelihood that it will impact your case is probably exceedingly small. Generally, the less serious your crime and the longer thee time that has gone by since this happened, the less important it will be related to your injury claim.
On the other hand, if you were charged with fraud or with a felony, the negative impact on your personal injury claim will be much greater. It will be important for your lawyer to build your case in such a way that the jurors will be convinced that you have changed and that you do deserve to receive your damages. Having some time go by between your criminal charges and the present injury claim may work in your favor.
Two Important Recommendations
Always Tell the Truth
It is not worth it for you to try to hide the truth as it eventually will come out and you will be questioned about it. You do not want the defense to find this out and use it to paint you as dangerous or dishonest.
Hire an Experienced Attorney
A previous conviction should not hold you back from seeking damages from a personal injury you have suffered. An experienced attorney will work with you to protect your rights and build a strong case.
How can past criminal charges affect compensation?
Anyone who suffers a personal injury and brings a claim can expect to receive compensation for such items as wage losses, present, and future medical bills, and other items that are easy to calculate. These are grouped under what is called economic damages. They can also claim non-economic damages which might include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of companionship, and others.
In other cases, where gross negligence was present, the victim or their family may also seek what is defined as punitive damages. These are meant to punish the negligent party for their actions or lack thereof.
In cases where there is a criminal record, your past may not come into play unless it is relevant to the current case. Although, if you are placed on the witness stand the defendant’s lawyer may bring it up in order to put into question whether you can be trusted as a witness.
Your Personal Injury Attorney is Here to Help
Your personal injury lawyer will decide and give you legal advice as to whether the best option for you is to request that your trial be heard by a judge rather than by a jury. The judge may be better able to set your past aside and only judge the case on its merits. If you do get a jury, it may benefit you to be open from the beginning as to your criminal record, thus making the incident much less important.