Civil Action

Last Updated: April 19, 2018

Definition - What does Civil Action mean?

A civil action is a legal action brought upon one private citizen against another. This is distinguished from a criminal action, in which a citizen is tried against the state. In terms of insurance, a person can be provided with money for legal fees or a lawyer for a civil action if he or she has liability insurance.

Insuranceopedia explains Civil Action

A civil action can be initiated when one person claims that another has violated his or her rights. This is different from a criminal action, when a state prosecutes a person for alleged wrongdoing. A government lawyer is assigned against a defendant in a criminal case, whereas private lawyers are hired in civil cases.

It is possible for an action to be deemed both a civil and criminal offense. For instance, a man's fingers are broken when another person physically attacked him. The wrongdoer could be charged by the state for assault. The assaulted man might also pursue a civil action against the person to claim money if, for instance, he happens to be a pianist and the broken fingers cost him his career.

Liability insurance can be bought to provide the legal fees for civil action and even legal representation.

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