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What is the maximum amount I can sue another person for if their is a crime involved?

Austin, TX |

My brother is looking to sue for sone damages that he incurred during an assault. We are curious what happens if the people he is suing do no not have the money to repay?

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Attorney answers 8


As the victim of a crime your brother should push for restitution as part of any plea deal reached by the defendant assuming he was arrested. If restitution is not an option then you should consult with a personal injury attorney to assess damages and likelihood of collecting.

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Carmine John Giardino

Carmine John Giardino


Your brother should apply to the victims of crime compensation fund. If he qualifies, he may get compensated that way. If the guy doesn't have any money, it will be difficult to collect a judgment; however, you can get one and keep renewing it every ten years. Maybe he'll win the lottery one day.


You need to consult a civil attorney. If that person is "judgment proof" (doesn't have any money), an attorney will probably not take the case unless there's another solvent defendant available (like a property owner's insurance policy). There is no maximum amount. It just depends on his damages. Again, a civil attorney can more accurately advise you on this.

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I would agree with Ms. Jagger's and add that this is why it would be important to get restitution as a condition of that persons probation. If they get jail time, they may not be required to pay you any damages, so you need to communicate your concerns to the prosecutors handling the case.


The best chance to get paid is make sure any damages are a condition of probation .

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My answers are intended only as general legal advice and are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. There is no substitute for a full consultation with a local experienced criminal defense attorney. For more answers based on my 19 years of experience visit my website,


Restitution and retain a local crime victim lawyer. Good luck.

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There are different kinds of damages that can be recovered in a civil lawsuit based on criminal conduct. The nature of the assault can affect a potential limit/cap on damages. The amount of medical bills and pain and suffering, if any, can affect the amount of punitive damages, if any. If here is no money, then you may have a judgment that can file of record. If the defendant obtains assets later, you may be able to take those to pay the judgment. They may have money that you don't know about. Their employer may be liable depending on how/when the assault occurred. Most personal injury attorneys will provide a free consultation to discuss these matters, as does our firm. But, I agree, restitution is the first option. It's free to you and provides the best incentive for the defendant to comply ... jail.

This post is for discussion purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. This post does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are interested in retaining counsel, you may contact The Law Office of Daniel O'Brien, P.C. at 512-615-3580 to discuss further.


No maximum. You need to consult an attorney. There are a variety of potential insurance sources. Contact me in Austin:

Responses to questions asked on this internet forum are not intended to form an attorney-client relationship. These responses are intended as general information only, and are based upon the attorney's understanding of Texas law ONLY. Other jurisdictions may have different laws, or may interpret the laws of the jurisdiction differently. For a more detailed response, contact Todd Kelly at the Carlson Law Firm: 512-346-5688.


YOu can access the Crime Victims Fund and also make sure the DA has received the complaint and pursues report you have made (I assume you made a report). This type of defendant could not discharge a debt (civil judgment) in bankruptcy court if it meets the requirements of the "intentional tort" exception to bankruptcy discharge. That said, if they have no money, they have no money. There is no cap for compensatory damages. Texas does have punitive damages caps, but they can be waived if the jury finds the right elements of an exception to the cap apply in your case. Very sorry this happened. Good luck!

The answer provided by counsel in the AVVO forum is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information is opinion only and given free of charge without full understanding of all facts and the law applicable to any question-poster's individual circumstances. The best advice is to take the question from this volunteer forum to a more formal communication with a practitioner in the specialty area indicated by the nature of the claim.

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