National Crime Victims’ Week: Voices Heard, Right Protected, Justice Served
They’re our family members, friends, and neighbors who happen to have experienced trauma and life-changing circumstances. They’re crime victims, and they all deserve to have their voices heard, their rights protected, access to services, and most of all, justice. Not only for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, but throughout the year.
April 24 through April 30 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, a chance for us all to promote victims’ rights and honor crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf. Chain | Cohn | Clark is dedicated to helping crime victims rebuild their lives by helping them seek justice and recover compensation from the following circumstances:
- Victims of sexual assault, sexual abuse, or sexual misconduct on the part of people in power including teachers, school administrators, managers, priests and church leadership.
- Victims of motor vehicle accidents due to the fault of impaired drivers, negligent drivers, hit-and-run drivers, red-light runners, and speeding drivers.
- Elder abuse and neglect on the part of caretakers, senior home center employees, and nursing home personnel.
- Victims of wrongful death due to the actions of law enforcement officers.
“We all have a part to play in reaching crime victims, and supporting them on their healing journey,” said Matt Clark, attorney and partner at Chain | Cohn | Clark. “Delivering true justice requires that we provide all victims with the support they need.”
Chain | Cohn | Clark has a webpage dedicated to helping victims of crime through the civil justice system. You can access that page here.
CIVIL JUSTICE FOR CRIME VICTIMS
Almost 19 million Americans are victimized by crime each year, according to the National Crime Victim Bar Association, and the consequences of crime frequently extend far beyond the criminal act. All too often, victims are left with expenses for medical procedures, physical rehabilitation, counseling, lost wages, and property damage.
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. If defendants are found civilly liable, courts may order them to pay monetary damages to victims. Money awarded in civil lawsuits can never fully compensate a victim for the trauma of victimization or the loss of a loved one; however, it can be a valuable resource to help crime victims rebuild their lives. Moreover, the exposure to civil liability is a powerful incentive for landlords, businessmen, and other proprietors to enact the security measures necessary to prevent future crime.
A significant difference between the criminal and civil court systems is that in a civil case, the victim controls the essential decisions that shape the case. It is the victim who decides whether to sue, accept a settlement offer, or go to trial. The civil justice system does not attempt to determine the innocence or guilt of an offender. Rather, civil courts attempt to determine whether an offender is liable for the injuries sustained as a result of the crime. The civil justice system also often provides victims and their families with a sense of justice that criminal courts fail to provide. The civil justice system holds defendants who are found liable directly accountable to their victims.
Courts have the authority to order convicted offenders to pay restitution to victims as part of their sentence, which may cover any out-of-pocket losses directly related to the crime. In some civil cases, a third-party defendant may be held liable, which are parties who may have contributed to the crimes. Examples include landlords who do not provide adequate security measures; colleges that fail to provide adequate security for students or fail to notify students of campus assaults, leaving students vulnerable to victimization; childcare centers, schools, and churches that do not properly check the backgrounds of their employees; bar owners or social hosts who continue to serve alcohol to inebriated persons who subsequently injure other people in drunk driving crashes.
“Victims of crime not only face physical and emotional costs, they often suffer a serious economic toll as well,” Clark said. “Our law firm is committed to using all tools at our disposal to hold offenders accountable, ensure crime victims get the justice they deserve, and help them move toward healing.”
If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Clark by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form, text, or chat with us at chainlaw.com.