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CRIME VICTIMS Representing Clients Throughout Virginia

Crime Victims

It is regrettable that despite our criminal justice system, innocent victims suffer untold injuries and suffering as the result of criminal conduct. Criminal and traffic laws require or forbid certain actions or behavior. The consequence to an accused of violating a criminal law is punishment, including a loss of freedom and liberties. The consequence to innocent victims of criminal conduct is needless physical injury, property loss, and psychological torment.

Our civil justice system affords criminal victims an additional avenue for the recovery of damages and losses against those who have victimized them.

Legal claims involving crime victims can involve complex legal and technical issues.

The following are a few important legal, factual and evidentiary matters that should be considered when evaluating a claim.

  • When, where, and how did the crime occur?
  • Did the crime occur at home, at work, while traveling on a common carrier, or at a business?
  • Were there witnesses to the crime?
  • Was the crime immediately reported to the police?
  • Did the crime involve a minor?
  • Do you know who committed the crime?
  • Did the crime involve someone you know?
  • Did the crime involve a family member or friend?
  • Did the crime involve a stranger?
  • Did the crime involve a person with a criminal record?
  • Did the crime involve a weapon?
  • Did the crime involve a gun?
  • Did the criminal activity involve violation of a protection order?
  • Could better security measures have prevented the crime?
  • What are the nature and extent of all injuries?
  • Have all medical bills been paid?
  • Will future medical care be required?
  • Are there funds or assets to satisfy a successful civil claim?

Crime victims may choose to file civil lawsuits against perpetrators or third parties for damages resulting from a criminal act. This legal action is separate from any criminal proceedings that might be taken by the state against the perpetrator. Here’s how civil lawsuits by crime victims typically work and their objectives:

Objectives of Civil Lawsuits by Crime Victims

  • Compensation for Damages: Civil lawsuits primarily aim to recover financial compensation for the victim. This can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related costs. 
  • Holding Perpetrators or Third Parties Accountable: Beyond the criminal justice system, civil lawsuits can hold perpetrators or negligent third parties (like employers, institutions, or property owners) accountable in a way that impacts them financially.
  • Closure and Personal Justice: For some victims, a civil lawsuit offers a form of justice and closure that the criminal justice system may not provide, especially in cases where criminal charges are not filed or result in acquittal.

Types of Civil Lawsuits Filed by Crime Victims

  • Personal Injury Claims: These are common when a victim suffers physical injuries as a result of the crime, such as in cases of assault or drunk driving.
  • Wrongful Death Claims: Filed by the relatives of a victim who has died due to the criminal actions of another, such as in cases of homicide or manslaughter.
  • Sexual Assault and Abuse Claims: Victims of sexual crimes may sue the perpetrator or third parties like institutions that failed to prevent the abuse or did not adequately respond.
  • Property Damage Claims: Victims of vandalism, arson, or theft may seek compensation for the value of lost or damaged property.
  • Fraud and Financial Loss Claims: Victims of fraud, identity theft, or financial scams can sue for the recovery of stolen assets or for financial losses incurred.
  • Emotional Distress Claims: These claims seek compensation for psychological impact and suffering that does not necessarily stem from physical injury.

Considerations for Crime Victims

  • Statute of Limitations: Civil actions are subject to time limits within which a lawsuit must be filed, varying by jurisdiction and type of claim.
  • Evidence and Standard of Proof: While the burden of proof is lower in civil cases than in criminal cases (“preponderance of the evidence” vs. “beyond a reasonable doubt”), victims still need sufficient evidence to support their claims.
  • Financial and Emotional Costs: Pursuing a civil lawsuit can be expensive and emotionally taxing. Victims should consider these factors and seek legal advice to understand their chances of success and the potential benefits.

Civil lawsuits offer a pathway for victims to seek redress and compensation directly from those responsible for their suffering. It’s important for victims to consult with legal professionals who specialize in representing crime victims in civil actions to navigate these complex legal processes effectively.

Crime victims can be categorized based on the type of crime they have experienced. Here’s a broad overview of the types of crime victims, keeping in mind that victimization can vary widely and may include multiple forms of harm:

  1. Violent Crime Victims: Individuals who have suffered due to acts of violence such as assault, homicide, robbery, kidnapping, hate crimes, domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, and sexual assault.
  2. Property Crime Victims: Victims of burglary, theft, arson, and vandalism. Unlike violent crimes, these do not involve harm to the body but rather loss or damage to property.
  3. Fraud and Financial Crime Victims: Those who have been defrauded or financially exploited. This category includes identity theft, scam victims, credit card fraud, and victims of various financial schemes and white-collar crimes.
  4. Cybercrime Victims: Individuals or entities targeted by crimes committed through or with the help of digital technologies. This includes cyberbullying, online harassment, hacking, phishing scams, and online identity theft.
  5. Sexual Assault Victims: This category specifically focuses on victims of sexual crimes, including rape, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, and child sexual abuse.
  6. Human Trafficking Victims: Individuals who are coerced, deceived, or forced into exploitative situations, including forced labor, slavery, and sexual exploitation.
  7. Hate Crime Victims: People targeted because of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other characteristics. These crimes can involve violence, threats, property damage, and other forms of harassment.
  8. DUI/DWI Victims: Individuals injured or killed in accidents involving drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  9. Terrorism Victims: Those injured or killed in acts of terrorism, including bombings, shootings, and other attacks aimed at causing widespread fear and harm.

Each type of victimization presents unique challenges for the victims, including physical injury, emotional trauma, financial loss, and legal complexities. Support services and legal protections are available for victims of all types of crimes, aiming to assist in their recovery and to ensure justice is served.

It is important that an experienced legal team evaluates your crime victim claim. Complex legal, factual, and evidentiary issues may be involved. If you, a loved one, or friend are injured in a crime, you should take immediate steps to protect their interest. Do not compromise your rights by making statements to the press, insurance investigators, potential defendants, their representatives, and do not sign anything. Consider the suggestions in our accident guide, and call us immediately. We are here to help. If you have lost a loved one due to a crime, we can also help represent you in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Newport News Crime Victims Attorneys Serving All Hampton Roads Cities & Counties

At Larry King Law, we recognize the unique issues pertaining to your claim. You can call us at 757-209-2265 seven days a week, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. You can now contact us now on this web site by calling or using our Contact form. We are committed to doing the extra things it takes to help our clients.

    Delivering real results for clients through strategic legal representation, dedication, and a proven track record of success in personal injury matters.
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