Civil Justice for Victims of Crime
Any Crime Victim May File a Civil Lawsuit
Regardless of the outcome of the criminal prosecution, or even if there was no prosecution, crime victims can file civil lawsuits against offenders and other responsible parties. Unlike the criminal justice process, the civil justice system does not attempt to determine an offender's guilt or innocence. Offenders are also not put in prison. Rather, civil courts attempt to ascertain whether an offender or a third party, such as a business or property owner that failed to provide adequate security, is liable for the injuries sustained as a result of the crime.
If defendants are found civilly liable, courts may order them to pay monetary damages to victims. While money awarded in civil lawsuits can never fully compensate a victim for the trauma of victimization or the loss of a loved one, it can be a valuable resource to help crime victims rebuild their lives.
Moreover, the exposure to civil liability is a powerful incentive for businesses, property owners, corporations, franchisees and other proprietors to enact the security measures necessary to prevent future crimes from occurring on their premises.
How to Find an Attorney
The law in the area of third party assaults of customers on business premises is very complicated, detailed and expensive to litigate. Success in this type of litigation requires attorneys who have extensive expertise, understand this unique area of the law, know how to investigate your case, and are willing to take on the largest companies in the country.
While many attorneys claim to have expertise representing crime victims in civil lawsuits, few actually have an extensive background in litigation of inadequate security in premises liability cases involving serious injury and wrongful death.
As a former law enforcement administrator, Chief of Police, and owner of a specialized uniformed and investigation security company, Hal Cook is uniquely qualified and intimately familiar with law enforcement and security administration, management, operations, policy and standards in both the public and private sector. This high degree of specialized knowledge and experience is an advantage to all clients and crime victims.
Fees and Retainers
The Cook Law Firm represents victims of crime on a contingency fee basis. This means the attorney is only paid a fee if the victim is awarded a monetary settlement or judgment. If the case is successful, the attorney's fee comes from a predetermined percentage of the total award. Regardless of whether the case is successful, the victim may be responsible for paying certain costs associated with the case including filing fees, expert witness fees, and deposition-related expenses.
Questions Your Attorney May Ask
When crime victims consult with an attorney, they should be prepared to answer detailed questions about the case that will allow the attorney to conduct a proper evaluation.
Our law firm will be requesting information such as the following:
About the Criminal Event:
•Date and time of occurrence •Location of events, addresses, and description of premises •Identification of witnesses to the occurrence •Identification of known physical evidence
• Whether a police report was filed, and if so, identification of: the police department where the complaint was filed, the detective or officer assigned to the case, the complaint or report number, and statements taken as part of an investigation
• Whether there was or is a criminal case. If so, identification of: the prosecutor, current stage of criminal case, and description of the case investigation conducted
About the Perpetrator:
• If the perpetrator is known to the victim: nature of relationship with victim. Perpetrator’s name and aliases, address, etc.
• If the perpetrator is not known to the victim, but a third party might bear some liability for the occurrence of the crime, details of events surrounding the crime and where it was committed become increasingly important, such as information about where the occurrence took place and whether there was any security.
About Damages Sustained by the Victim:
• Medical information: degree of physical, emotional, and psychological injuries sustained and extent and cost of anticipated treatment
• Identification of hospital, physician services
• Identification of property damage
• Amount of victim's lost time from work, lost wages, money recouped from workers compensation, or state or private disability insurance
• Source of funds to cover damages or losses such as health insurance, crime victims compensation, Medicare, and restitution.