Case Conclusion Date: April 8, 2013
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Outcome: $193,000 Restitution Order was Terminated!
Description: Many incidents that result in criminal charges also lead to civil lawsuits. This is particularly common in vehicle related offenses such as Reckless Driving and DUIs. The following case summary exemplifies the benefits of having a lawyer who understands both civil and criminal litigation. Client, who was 72 years old at the time, made a right turn at lighted intersection and ran over a young boy who was in his bicycle. Client left the scene and was charged with felony hit-and-run case. Client, who was represented by a different lawyer in the underlying criminal case, pled guilty to a felony count of hit-and-run. The case was then set for a restitution hearing where Client's lawyer could have challenged the amount if restitution sought. Instead, Client's lawyer stipulated (agreed) to a restitution amount of $193,000 for the victim's medical bills. Following his felony conviction, client was sued in civil court for the same collision. The guardian for the boy who was hit filed a lawsuit alleging personal injury, emotional distress, and pain and suffering. The lawsuit requested millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages. Client was appointed an insurance defense attorney by his insurer, but sought private counsel as well since the dollar amount of the lawsuit greatly exceeded the amount of his insurance policy. Client hired Daniel A. Flores to assist him in the case. Upon reviewing the case, Mr. Flores decided to not only assist Client in the civil suit, but to assist him in dealing with the criminal restitution order as well to prevent unnecessary and potentially duplicative payments. It became apparent to Mr. Flores that based on his former criminal attorney’s advice Client had stipulated to a criminal restitution amount based on medical bills that had not yet been “settled” or “reduced.” Pulling from his personal injury experience, Mr. Flores argued that Client should be allowed to defer payment of restitution (or at least delay payment of the restitution) until the civil personal injury case was settled. The personal injury case was settled and the medical bills that totaled $193,000 were reduced and paid in full by the insurance company (not out of Client’s pocket) for only $15,500. Mr. Flores participated in the mediation of the civil case and successfully protected Client from the plaintiff attorney’s request that Client pay money out of his own pocket to settle the claim for punitive damages. Additionally, Mr. Flores persuaded all parties to make the civil settlement contingent upon the criminal court acceptance of the settlement as complete satisfaction of the criminal restitution order of $193,000. The civil case settled for an amount that was totally covered by Client’s insurance company. Mr. Flores then successfully brought a motion in criminal court to have the restitution order deemed satisfied, thereby saving the client from personal liability for the award.