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What's the difference between a criminal and civil lawsuit?

If you were hurt by a dangerous product in Pennsylvania, you may be exploring your right and option to file a personal injury lawsuit against the party that manufactured, designed or sold you the dangerous product. If you do file such an action, it will be filed in civil court. This may lead you to ask what civil court is, exactly, and how is it different from criminal court?

In criminal court, cases are brought forward by government prosecutors seeking to punish someone for an unlawful act. For example, someone might have stolen an article of clothing from a department store, robbed a bank or hurt someone physically. Potential punishments in a criminal case may include fines, prison time, community service and other penalties that the convicted person must endure.

Conversely, in civil court, the case is brought forward by a party -- be it an individual, business, or other organization -- that suffered some kind of harm. Through the civil court process, courts will compensate victims financially for their injuries -- that is, if the victims can prove their claims during the litigation process. Unlike criminal court, the at-fault party is not "punished" per se. Rather, the at-fault party is usually forced to make the plaintiff whole by paying him or her money.

If you were hurt by a dangerous product in Pennsylvania, a successfully navigated civil court lawsuit could bring financial compensation for the costs associated with your medical care. It might also bring you compensation for income lost due to not being able to work and other categories of damages.

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D'Amico Law Offices, L.L.C.
310 Grant Street
Grant Building
Suite 825
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-906-8180
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