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Experienced Civil Rights Attorneys Guide Exonerated Clients Through the Process of How Wrongful Conviction Settlements Work
If you have been wrongfully convicted due to police or prosecutorial misconduct, you may have a claim for compensation after you successfully obtain your exoneration and release from prison. However, pursuing a civil lawsuit for wrongful conviction is a complicated and time-consuming process that can take many years before you even get to trial. That’s why many wrongful conviction cases are resolved through a settlement, which can more quickly provide victims of wrongful convictions with the financial resources they need to put their lives back together.
If you have a potential claim after being exonerated and released, the civil rights lawyers of Marrone Law Firm, LLC can help you advocate for just compensation.
Contact us for a free case evaluation and to learn more about how wrongful conviction settlements work. We can discuss whether you have a potential claim to compensation after you have been exonerated from a wrongful criminal conviction.
How Do You Prove You Were Wrongfully Convicted in a Civil Claim?
FAQ: Why are wrongful conviction cases suddenly becoming so prominent in Pennsylvania?
Just because you have had your criminal conviction overturned does not automatically mean you can obtain financial compensation in a wrongful conviction lawsuit. To succeed in a civil claim for wrongful conviction, you may need to prove the following elements:
- You were convicted of a criminal offense and sentenced to jail or prison time and served some portion of that sentence.
- You were exonerated or pardoned on the grounds that you were innocent of the crime, and your conviction was overturned and your charges dismissed without further proceedings.
- You have a colorable claim that you did not commit the criminal acts for which you were convicted.
- You did not cause or contribute to your conviction — for example, you did not knowingly and voluntarily plead guilty to the crime (although you may still have a claim if your confession or plea was coerced).
In Pennsylvania, you can only recover compensation through a civil lawsuit for wrongful conviction. This stands in contrast to many other states, which have statutes that automatically provide financial compensation to individuals exonerated from wrongful convictions under certain circumstances (although there have been proposals to adopt a similar system in Pennsylvania). However, with a lawsuit, you must also prove legal liability or fault, which generally means showing that someone or some entity acted with intent/malice, recklessness, or gross negligence, as police and prosecutors enjoy broad immunity from civil lawsuits.
What Is a Wrongful Conviction Settlement?
If you have been wrongfully convicted of a crime due to somebody’s misconduct and you choose to file a civil lawsuit for financial compensation, you may have an opportunity to resolve your claim through a settlement. Putting your life back together after being released from prison following an exoneration from a wrongful conviction can be incredibly difficult. In particular, you may need financial resources to help you pay for basic living expenses until you are able to secure stable employment and get back on your feet. A settlement may mean that you receive financial compensation more quickly than if you pursued your civil lawsuit all the way through trial and verdict.
Obtaining Pre-Settlement Funding to Pursue Your Wrongful Conviction Claim
Of course, no matter how quickly you are able to obtain compensation in a wrongful conviction civil claim, you will still need money soon after being released from prison. Depending on your circumstances, litigation or pre-settlement funding may be an option to secure immediate access to financial resources while you pursue your legal claim. Litigation or pre-settlement funding is often mistakenly thought of as a type of loan. However, unlike a loan that must be paid back, in litigation/pre-settlement funding the company instead invests in whatever compensation award you are able to recover in your wrongful conviction lawsuit. If you are ultimately unsuccessful in your suit, the company receives nothing. If you do obtain some compensation, the company is entitled to be paid a predetermined portion or percentage of your award. Thus, the litigation/pre-settlement funding company accepts the risk that your claim does not succeed.
Contact Marrone Law Firm, LLC to Learn More about How Wrongful Conviction Settlements Work in Pennsylvania
If you have more questions or want to learn more about how wrongful conviction settlements work, call or contact Marrone Law Firm, LLC to speak with a knowledgeable Philadelphia civil rights attorney in a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal rights and options for pursuing a civil lawsuit against those whose misconduct resulted in your wrongful conviction.