4. Civil claims
It may also be the case that the victim is also entitled to damages or damages as compensation for pain and suffering in criminal proceedings.
Frequently, civil claims are asserted by the entitled party only after a conviction has already been handed down. In practice, an unpleasant surprise in personal injury proceedings is often the recourse claims of health insurance companies. These are, for example, hospital costs or loss of earnings, provided that the insurance companies had initially paid for them.
In economic criminal law, the civil consequences of a conviction can destroy a person’s existence. Thus for instance a condemned investment cheat or the managing director of an insolvent GmbH are personally responsible. A rash “deal” with the court is forbidden in such constellations, in which the secondary consequences can be far more serious than the punishment itself.
Even during ongoing criminal proceedings, it sometimes makes sense to take the initiative to pay damages or damages for pain and suffering to the victim through defence. This can have a positive effect on the sentencing, for example in the context of a perpetrator-victim compensation.
The victim himself can also attempt to have civil law claims for damages or damages for pain and suffering established by a court during the criminal proceedings. The Code of Criminal Procedure expressly provides for this possibility in §§ 403 et seq. of the Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO) expressly. The property claim against the accused within the criminal proceeding is intended to strengthen victims’ rights and ensure a uniform decision. There is also talk of “annex proceedings” – civil proceedings are appended to criminal proceedings. However, the proceedings are only admissible in criminal proceedings against an adult defendant, not in proceedings against juveniles. A further restriction is that only claims under property law can be asserted – claims for damages for pain and suffering or claims for damages can therefore be considered. To put it simply: claims directed to the payment of a sum of money.
However, the victim is by no means obliged to file an application for liability in criminal proceedings. The victim may also decide to assert his or her claims in full before the civil court. The decision of one court then has no binding effect on the decision of the other court.
In practice, the property claim against the accused within the criminal proceeding is not very important. This is because the Code of Civil Procedure is different from the Code of Criminal Procedure. Criminal judges can refuse to conduct attached civil proceedings if the matter is not suitable for settlement in criminal proceedings.