Conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to accomplish a criminal act or a legal act through criminal means.
What is Civil Conspiracy?
Most states have a civil cause of action for civil conspiracy if:
- Two or more people form an association,
- The association is for an unlawful objective,
- The two or more people agree or understand the objective and the manner to achieve the unlawful objective,
- The two or more people commit an unlawful act in furtherance of the conspiracy, and
- You are injured as a result.
How do Criminal Conspiracy and Civil Conspiracy Differ?
Criminal conspiracy is a crime, meaning it is the government that punishes a conspirator for their actions. In some states you can face punishment ranging from jail time for 2 to 30 years, or serious fines. Criminal conspiracy is generally a crime once two or more people agree to an unlawful objective. Some states also require an unlawful act in furtherance of the conspiracy to be found guilty.
Civil conspiracy is a tort, or civil wrong. A private person is the one who sues and is awarded damages if they are injured by a conspiracy. Civil conspiracy only exists when you are injured as a result of an unlawful act in furtherance of the conspiracy. That means, if you are only injured because of the agreement to commit a crime by two or more people, you have no cause of action.
Additionally, those who injure you as a result of their unlawful act in furtherance of a conspiracy are jointly and severally liable for your damages. That means that any of the conspirators are liable for all of your damages, independent of the other conspirators.
Do I Need an Attorney if I Have Been Injured by a Civil Conspiracy?
If you think you have been injured by a conspiracy, it is highly recommended for you to contact a business attorney. Only they will be able to explain the issues and help defend your rights.