When Criminal Charges Lead to a Civil Lawsuit

At Sweeney & Associates, we see time and again that a client who has faced criminal charges will also face a civil lawsuit. Types of criminal charges that lead to civil lawsuits include assault and battery, embezzlement, larceny, or injuries from a sexual assault whether physical or mental. We have also represented clients in cases where the criminal statute of limitations has passed but the civil statute of limitations has not. This often occurs when a victim alleges they suffered sexual abuse decades ago, suddenly remembers the abuse, and hires an attorney to represent them in a civil lawsuit. Whether you are convicted of a crime, admit to sufficient facts for a finding of guilt, or are found not guilty after trial, you could still face a civil lawsuit stemming from the allegations made against you.

Many people have a Homeowners Insurance policy that will cover negligent or unintentional acts. Under these policies, the insurance company will not only provide an attorney to represent you but will also pay up to the policy limit to either settle the case or to satisfy a jury verdict. Most of those policies, however, exclude any legal representation or payment of funds if the act is intentional or involves sexual assault. At Sweeney & Associates, we will assist you in finding any possible insurance coverage so that you do not need to hire an attorney to represent you in the civil case or pay any money out of your own pocket. Depending on the type of allegations, you may have no choice but to hire your own attorney.

Some insurance companies will also represent you under a reservation of rights. This means that the insurer will investigate and often defend against the civil lawsuit while determining whether your insurance policy covers the claim. The insurer at any time could determine that the claim is not covered by your insurance policy leaving you to hire an attorney to defend you in the civil case or to pay the settlement or jury verdict amount if found liable. Hiring an attorney to shadow your case while you are represented under a reservation of rights will ensure you have at least one attorney looking out for your best interests.

At Sweeney & Associates, we pride ourselves on being trial attorneys in both criminal and civil matters. We are able to represent you in the criminal case and the civil case so that you do not need to hire two attorneys. Hiring the same attorney to represent you in both cases will have immense benefit to you. Continuity in counsel will keep the legal fees lower and will prevent you from having to bring a new attorney up to speed. As your criminal attorney, we will be in the best position to evaluate the allegations made against you in the civil case and recommend the best path forward whether that be settling the civil case or taking it to trial.

Contact Attorney Sabrina Bonanno of Sweeney & Associates at (617) 328-6900 for a free consultation. You can also contact us at

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