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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 100051
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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We live in Arizona. Last November my son was involved in an

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We live in Arizona. Last November my son was involved in an accident that was his fault. Ticketed for failure to yield making a left hand turn. There was a serious injury /death involved. He was charged with a class 3 misdemeanor. Under the statute the maximum amount they can ask for restitution is $10000, and that is what the state is going after. Our question is, if we pay that restitution can the family still come after our family with a civil lawsuit? I've been told that they can't double dip, is this true?
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am very sorry for your family's situation. On this website, I do not always get to give good news, and I am afraid that this is one of these times.

Our question is, if we pay that restitution can the family still come after our family with a civil lawsuit? I've been told that they can't double dip, is this true?

Essentially, yes (although there is a caveat). If a party is injured, they can only seek restitution via court for whatever restitution they have not already received.

Restitution - payment awarded via criminal court.
Civil damages - payment awarded via civil court.

For example, let us say that I burn down your garage. Your insurance covers 60% of the damage. You can only sue me for the 40% rest of the damage, not the 100% of the damage.

Now apply this to criminal restitution and civil damages. In Arizona, A.R.S. § 13-807 credits the restitution amount against any civil damage award.

However, here comes the caveat: restitution and civil damages are independent under Arizona law, and the state's power to order restitution does not bar a victim from seeking damages in a civil action. A.R.S. § 13-807; State v. Pearce, 751 P. 2d 603 - Ariz: Court of Appeals, 2nd Div., Dept. A 1988. This means that they can seek more in civil court.

The $10,000 is for property destruction in an accident where insurance is involved in many cases. For injury or wrongful death, the party can seek more, and even though whatever he pays under criminal restitution will apply towards civil damages, it does not stop them from seeking more than $10,000 in civil court.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you! That is the info I needed.


 


Lance

You are quite welcome, Lance. Good luck.