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 witnesses the perpetrator receive just punishment, they are still 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 permitted the crime to be committed. A successful civil action suit can result in monetary recovery.. Even in a situation 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 that can cover the claim. A few common causes of civil claims are:
- False imprisonment
- Intentionally inflicting physical harm and emotional distress
- Wrongful death
When a recovery is made against a third party, it is based on what is owed to the crime victim by the third party. It permits the crime victim to be compensated by someone other than the perpetrator. 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. These claims often cite the failure of a 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
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 a jury trial.
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:
- The perpetrator of the crime. In such instances, the claim will be based on the intentional acts of the perpetrator or some negligent interaction between the victim and the perpetrator, resulting in an injury.
- A third party—not the perpetrator—who controls the premises where the crime took place and the risk of criminal activity was foreseeableand preventable.
Who might be third party?
A third party may be the hotel owners, shopping centers, parking lots, ATM kiosks, apartments, malls and bars.
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 against the attack. The victim must prove a set of facts under which the third party failed to take reasonable security measures.
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 is injured, the insurance company and the owner of the premises are not your friends. They are not looking out for your best interests. 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.
If I retain your law firm will I need to pay legal fees and costs?
There is no fee unless we recover for you.
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.. You should contact us if you have any questions regarding how long you have after the injury or wrongful death to file a claim. We can tell can you the statute of limitations 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 may become hazy or you can lose track of them. A prompt investigation should be performed in the environment where the crime occurred because conditions can change.
Contact a Philadelphia Crime Victim’s Rights Attorney
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.
With offices in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Bethlehem and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. And, remember, there is no fee unless we recover for you.