Gary Bell Jr. and Brad Pollock
Injury Attorneys

Even if you receive a settlement in your civil case, you may still be able to receive an additional award of restitution in the criminal case, for things not covered by the offender’s insurance policy. The purpose of a restitution order is to decrease the financial burden caused by the crime and to preserve the individual dignity of victims.

Colorado’s restitution law requires that in every conviction for a felony, misdemeanor, petty or traffic misdemeanor offense, (this would include an automobile accident), that the court shall either award restitution to the victim or make a specific finding that no victim of the crime suffered a loss. Restitution is an order of the court by which offenders are held accountable for the financial losses they cause to the victims of their crimes. A victim may be any individual or an entity directly and immediately aggrieved by the offender’s negligent or criminal conduct.

A Denver personal injury lawyer explains how restitution in criminal cases can impact civil cases.

A Denver personal injury lawyer explains how restitution in criminal cases can impact civil cases.

Expenses that may be reimbursed as restitution include:

  • out-of-pocket expenses incurred from emotional or psychological treatment,
  • anticipated future expenses,
  • rewards paid by victims,
  • adjustment expenses,
  • moving expenses,
  • anticipated medical expenses,
  • other losses or injuries proximately caused by a defendant’s conduct, and
  • pre-judgment interest at a rate of 8% annum and post judgment interest at a rate of 12% annum.

Restitution does not include:

  • pain and suffering,
  • lost enjoyment of life,
  • loss of future earnings, and
  • punitive damages.

The prosecutor of the criminal case that has the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence that a loss was proximately caused by an offender’s conduct.

[Although your civil attorney may advocate for you concerning restitution, it is the prosecutor who presents your case for restitution to the court.] This may be done through victim impact statements, testimony at trial or through the testimony by the victim at a hearing.  The offender, has an opportunity to question the restitution requested and may ask the court for a restitution hearing.  When the final restitution amount is determined by the court, the offender will be required to make restitution payments.

Restitution is paid into the Court Registry, which distributes the payment to each of the crime victims named in the courts restitution order. If an offender claims he cannot pay the full amount of restitution, he will be assigned a collections investigator who will assess the defendant’s financial ability to pay the restitution. A payment schedule may be set up to allow restitution payments over time. In the case of a juvenile defendant, the collections investigator may conduct the investigation into the juvenile’s parents or legal guardian’s financial circumstances, as well as that of the juvenile. An order for restitution is a final civil judgment that will survive the offender’s death and may not be discharged in bankruptcy proceedings. However, juvenile restitution orders may be discharged in bankruptcy proceedings.

If the defendant fails to make timely payments, there are various measures the court, the collections investigator, can take. These include, but are not limited to the following:

  • make a demand for payment,
  • assess late fees,
  • garnish or attach wages,
  • property liens,
  • intercept state income tax refunds;
  • refer to an outside collection agency, and
  • suspend the offender’s driver’s license.

Until the restitution is paid in full, it is considered a final civil judgment. Restitution orders are subject to interest and 12%. The defendant must also pay reasonable and necessary attorney fees and costs incurred in collecting restitution if the offender does not pay. A restitution order cannot be discharged in bankruptcy because it’s considered “willful and malicious” injury.  Any restitution paid to a victim may be considered a set off against any amount recovered as compensatory damages by the victim in any federal or state civil proceeding. The converse is also true in that funds recovered in civil proceeding may offset a restitution award in either a felony or non-felony criminal case.

The impact of insurance during restitution proceedings depends on the conviction. For non-felony convictions, the court shall order restitution for only the portion of the victim’s pecuniary loss for which the victim cannot be compensated under a policy of insurance. The court may not award restitution to the victim concerning a pecuniary loss which the victim has received or is entitled to receive benefits or reimbursement under the a policy of insurance or any other indemnity agreement.   This rule does not apply to felony convictions. Insurance carriers are not required to defend their insured at  arestitution hearing,  absent specific contractual obligation.

Even if you receive a civil award from an insurance company for losses received an automobile accident, you may still be entitled to restitution as part of the sentence in the criminal case. Restitution seeks to make the crime victim whole. It is important for the plaintiff to consider how restitution will influence his case for losses arising from the incident.  When you receive a notice of restitution from the District Attorney’s Office, contact a Denver personal injury lawyer at Bell and Pollock PC to review this information with your attorney to insure that you get any restitution you are entitled to from the criminal case. This will be in addition to what you may receive in the civil case.

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Case Results

WE KNOW HOW TO WIN

CASE: Client was injured by a drunk driver. As a result of the motor vehicle accident, client was rendered a quadriplegic and needed a life care plan.
Outcome: $9,600,000

CASE: Against Insurance company for failure to pay for property damage after a gas and fire explosion.
Outcome: $1,600,000

CASE: Medical malpractice for failure to diagnose a descending aorta aneurism, resulting in death.
Outcome: $1,300,000

CASE: Neck and back injuries from car accident. Client had ongoing symptoms and needed injections for attempted remediation of pain.
Settled for $485,000

CASE: Client was injured in a 2 vehicle collision. She suffered a traumatic brain injury, concussion and multiple injuries to the neck.
Outcome: $6,000,000

CASE: Client was in her car and was T-Boned by a commercial vehicle. Her cerebral spinal fluid leaked and she suffered a concussion and traumatic brain injury with neck and lumbar (low back) injuries. Her neck injury caused radiating pain, numbness and tingling in her arms.
Outcome: $3,400,000

CASE: Client was driving on a rural road when another car crossed the center line and caused a head-on collision in the snow and ice. Client did physical work for a living. Both knees were injured, along with a neck injury.
Outcome: $2,300,000

CASE: Client was driving on South Parker road when another vehicle rapidly changed lanes and rear-ended the client. That vehicle was cited for careless driving. The collision caused a concussion with traumatic brain Injury. Client missed time from work and had a positive correlation between brain scan and neuropsychological test results.
Outcome: $950,000

CASE: Client was rear ended by a dump truck, was then knocked forward and hit another vehicle. Client had a concussion with traumatic brain injury. Client underwent a brain scan which showed hypoperfusion, correlated with her concussion symptoms. Client suffered neck injuries and injuries to her low back.
Outcome: $650,000

CASE: Client was rear-ended. The mechanism of injury from the forces in the collision caused her neck injury and at the same time, damaged her organs inside her throat. Client had swallowing and choking issues.
Outcome: $1,250,000

CASE: Client was in a motor vehicle accident. Both injections in the neck rendered some temporary relief. The Injections were transforaminal epidural steroid injections. Surgery was recommended on the lumbar (low back). The low back was injured by the forces in the collisions.
Outcome: $933,000

CASE: The client was driving in her car and was rear-ended thereby causing injuries to her lower back and neck. Client also suffered a concussion. Client had to undergo facet injections multiple times, through multiple procedures. Client also had cognitive issues which required cognitive training and therapy.
Outcome: $400,000

CASE: Client was entering a highway from an on ramp and was rear-ended by a commercial van. Client tested positive for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and failed conservative treatment. Client underwent thoracic outlet syndrome surgey, which involved removal of the first rib to attempt to relieve pressure in the thoracic outlet. Client also suffered a back injury.
Outcome: $750,000

CASE: Client was injured by a drunk driver, who crossed the center line of the road. Client underwent multiple surgeries and could not work. Client was late 40s and needed a modified life care plan.
Outcome: $750,000

CASE: Client was rear ended by a tow truck driver who was a diabetic. The diabetic at fault party was a non-compliant diabetic and claimed he had a syncope episode, and was “blacked out”. Client had a preexisting back condition known and the forces from the collision aggravated, or made worse, the preexisting back condition in addition to, causing neck injuries.
Outcome: $350,000

CASE: Client was a passenger in a car where the driver fell asleep on a country road in the early morning hours. The car rolled multiple times. Client had eye injuries, facial injuries and neck and knee injuries.
Outcome: $850,000

CASE: Client was on the job, driving her own car, when she was rear-ended. She suffered a concussion with traumatic brain injury and pursued Workers Compensation Claim.
Outcome: $150,000

CASE: Client slipped and fell on snow and ice in Central City. He suffered back injuries, that did not require injections.
Outcome: $125,000

CASE: Client slipped and fell on snow and ice on a sidewalk in front of a business. She had to have knee surgery and multiple injections in her back.
Outcome: $175,000

CASE: Client was visiting a friend who was renting a house. Client tripped on untreated, dangerous section of deck and injured his back.
Outcome: $150,000

CASE:Client was rear ended and needed fusion spinal surgery. Insurance proceeds were limited.
Outcome: $125,000

CASE:Client was rear-ended and had to have rotator cuff surgery. Insurance proceeds were limited.
Settled for $65,000

CASE:Client was at Denver International Aiport traveling through Denver, slipped and fell and broke her ankle.
Settled for $118,750

CASE:Client was exposed to mold in a multi-family dwelling that was caused by leaking water.
Settled for $125,000

CASE:Motorcycle accident, reconstructive surgery, post-traumatic stress disorder, neurological injuries
Settled for $1,275,000

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