Helping injured people since 1947

Philadelphia Injury Lawyers


Crime Victim Rights

A victim of a crime does not control the criminal justice system. The state brings the criminal to justice. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system will not pay damages to the victim or the victim’s family for the harm done. Even if the victim is able to witness the perpetrator receive just punishment, the victim is left with physical, psychological, and monetary losses and/or no compensation.

But victims are not without a civil remedy. They have the right to full and complete damages from the perpetrator of the crime and any third party who has permitted the crime to be committed. A successful civil action can result in full monetary recovery. The amount collected is far more than the victim’s actual damages since the recovery would include pain, suffering, and loss of life pleasures. Even in those situations where a conviction is not obtained the victim can bring a civil claim for damages against the perpetrator or a responsible third party.

Damages can be recovered if the perpetrator is financially responsible or has an insurance policy to cover the claim. If so, there are many theories of recovery by which the victim can proceed. The civil claim can be based on some intentional act by the perpetrator or some negligent action by the perpetrator. A few common causes of action are:

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Wrongful death
  • False imprisonment
  • Intentionally inflicting physical harm and emotional distress.

Recovery can also be made against a third party. This right of recovery is based on what is owed to the crime victim by a third party. It permits the crime victim to be compensated by someone other than the perpetrator. The third parties are often businesses or corporations. This can offer the victim an alternative source for collecting damages that may not be collectable from the perpetrator. Most claims of third-party liability are made against a property owner where the crime occurred. This includes the failure of the property owner to take proper security measures when a criminal attack was foreseeable. Reasonable security measures include:

  • Hiring qualified liable security services
  • Installing security systems
  • Actively monitoring security cameras
  • Creating security plans
  • Developing building access control measures
  • Using hotel room key card and installing ATM panic buttons.

Our Philadelphia personal injury law firm has experience in representing victims in serious injuries and death from criminal acts. We can provide excellent representation and are happy to answer any questions. To have us review your case for free, please call 1-800-222-8792 to schedule a free consultation with a qualified Philadelphia injury attorney or complete a short form and a member of our firm will contact you. We serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey including the areas of Allentown, Harrisburg, Reading and Bethlehem.

There is no fee unless we recover money for you.

Here are some questions about crime victim rights that you might have:

What right does a crime victim have to receive compensation through the civil justice system?

Unlike the criminal justice system where the case against the criminal is handled and controlled by a district attorney’s office, the civil case is controlled by the victim as guaranteed by the Seventh Amendment of the United States Constitution. This guarantees all Americans the right to enforce our civil claims by trial by jury.

How does a victim exercise his or her rights under the Seventh Amendment?

The victim can engage our office or hire another attorney to investigate the acts surrounding the crime to determine whether a civil claim can be filed and whether there is a reasonable chance of a successful recovery.

Who can the victim sue to recover fair compensation and damages?

There are two classes of responsible parties:

1. The perpetrator of the crime. In such instances, the claim will be based on the intentional acts by the perpetrator or some negligent interaction between the victim and the perpetrator causing the injury.

2. A third party—not the perpetrator—who controls the premises where the crime took place and the risk of criminal activity was foreseeable.

Who might be third party?

Possible third parties include owners of hotels, shopping centers, parking lots, ATM kiosks, apartments, malls, bars, and shopping complexes.

What must the crime victim prove to recover from a third party?

Essentially the victim must prove the criminal act was foreseeable and the third party failed to exercise reasonable care to protect the victim from the attack. The victim must prove a set of facts under which the third party failed to take reasonable security measures. Reasonable security measures may include:

  • Hiring qualified and reliable security services
  • Installing security systems
  • Actively monitoring security cameras
  • Creating a security plan
  • Building security control access measures
  • Using hotel room key cards
  • Installing ATM panic buttons.

If I retain your law firm will I need to pay legal fees and costs?

It is our policy for these cases that any fees and costs would be on a contingency basis. This means we charge you a percentage of the amount collected and we advance the costs. In the event of a recovery we would recapture our costs and charge you the agreed fee. In the event we do not recover anything on your behalf, you would owe us no money.

Do I need a lawyer?

Yes. Even if the insurance company or the owner of the premises where the crime occurred contacts you, you should speak with a lawyer. When you or a loved one are injured the insurance company and the owner of the premises are not your friends. They are not looking out for you. They are looking out for their own interests, which is to save them the most money as possible. You, on the other hand, want to be fully and fairly compensated for the injuries sustained. That is why you need a Philadelphia injury attorney of Galfand Berger to represent you. We can negotiate the best possible settlement for you. We will negotiate a fair settlement for you or file a lawsuit on your behalf.

How long do I have to file a claim against the perpetrator or the third party that might be responsible for my injuries?

In every state there is a statute of limitations. This means you must file a claim within a certain period of time or your claim will be forever barred. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the statute of limitations is two years. You should contact us if you have any questions regarding how long you have after the injury or death to file a claim. We can tell can you the statute of limitation of each state. If you are going to use a lawyer, it is important for the lawyer to be retained as soon as possible so a timely investigation may be conducted. Timely investigations are important because as time goes by, witnesses’ memory become hazy or you may lose track of them. A prompt investigation should be performed in the environment where the crime occurred because conditions can change.


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Galfand Berger, LLP

Attorney Advertising Materials. Wayne A. Hamilton is responsible for the content of this website. This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

We serve clients in Philadelphia, Allentown, Harrisburg, Reading, throughout Pennsylvania and in New Jersey. Our offices are located in Philadelphia, Reading, and Bethlehem, Pa.

We work to protect the rights of clients who have been injured as a result of car accidents, defective products, unsafe equipment and machinery, workplace accidents, medical malpractice and any other serious injuries or accidents.

Galfand Berger LLP is located in Philadelphia, PA and serves clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Bala Cynwyd, Merion Station, Wynnewood, Philadelphia, Narberth, Gladwyne, Elkins Park, Cheltenham, Wyncote, Upper Darby, Ardmore, Glenside, Lafayette Hill, Havertown, Haverford, Flourtown, Darby, Oreland, Jenkintown, Drexel Hill, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County.

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Phone: 1-800-222-USWA (8792)

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