Criminal Acts and Civil Liability in Massachusetts
The point of criminal law is to punish for wrongdoing. The point of civil law is to hold wrongdoers financially accountable to deter similar behavior in the future. With certain criminal offenses in Massachusetts, there is often a criminal prosecution as well as a civil trial. Examples of such criminal offenses are assault, battery, rape and murder. Many times, after the conclusion of a criminal matter, a civil law suit will commence which is intended to "make whole" the victim of the crime by way of money damages.
Therefore, liability for a wrong does not always end at the conclusion of a criminal proceeding, for there could very well be a civil suit as well to recover damages for the victim.