Usually, a person who commits a violent crime will have criminal charges brought against them by a prosecuting attorney. Criminal charges result in criminal penalties—such as jail time— but do not provide restitution for non-economic damages for a victim. As such, a victim of a violent crime may be legally within his or her rights to bring civil charges against the offending party for all damages incurred. That's where the attorneys of Napoli Shkolnik help. Our experienced Violent Crime Attorneys can help in the representation and recovering damages.
Taking Legal Action in Civil Court
Violent crimes are an area of much concern to lawmakers, law enforcement agencies and citizens alike. Perpetrators of these crimes victimize tens of thousands of people – in New York alone. According to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, there were 25,931 violent crimes and 4,851 violent crimes with firearms committed in 2011 alone – in all areas of the state except for New York City. According to statistics presented by the City of New York Police Department, there were more than 40,000 major felony offenses committed in New York City in 2011. The majority of these were felony assault (18,482) and robbery (19,717). Another 515 were murder and non-negligent manslaughter. Looking at these statistics, it is easy to see why this is an important focus of our NYC-based law firm.
A violent crime may be defined as a criminal offense that involves the threat, attempt or act of violence against another person. Assault, robbery, rape, manslaughter and murder are all examples of violent crimes. These are generally the most serious criminal offenses that a person may commit, and the penalties upon a conviction may be severe, including years, decades or live in prison and heavy fines. These penalties may be well-deserved, but what about the significant injuries and losses the victim has experienced?
Many victims of violent crimes may be unaware of their right to file civil lawsuits in which the responsible party or parties can be held liable for their actions. This type of legal action is filed in civil court, where the defendant (party accused of causing harm) faces financial penalties if found guilty. The plaintiff (injured party or representative of the injured party) may be entitled to financial compensation for such damages as medical expenses, lost earnings, future medical care, loss of future earnings, pain and suffering. The victim may also be entitled to punitive damages, which are awarded to penalize the wrongdoer for his or her actions and discourage others from committing similar acts. The money recovered in a civil suit cannot erase all of the pain and trauma that a violent crime victim has experienced. It can, however, make it far easier to pay medical bills and begin rebuilding and moving on after such an incident.
Types of Violent Crimes
There are multiple types of violent crimes that may warrant a civil claim for damages. These include:
- Child abuse;
- Elder abuse;
- Domestic violence;
- Gun violence;
- Rape/sexual assault;
- Murder; and
Even if a person who committed a violent crime is found not guilty in a criminal proceeding, a victim may still bring civil charges against the accused.
Who can be held accountable?
A key issue in filing a civil lawsuit for a violent crime is finding a party who is able to pay the judgment. The perpetrator may simply not have the resources to pay a judgment even if it is obtained on a victim’s behalf, particularly if he or she is incarcerated and is expected to remain in prison for the foreseeable future. The victim and his or her violent crime attorney may need to look to other parties that bear some accountability for the incident and the victim’s injuries, such as:
- The owner or manager of the property where the victim was attacked. If the owner or manager did not provide adequate and appropriate security to protect lawful visitors or customers, and the victim was attacked as a result, this may constitute negligence and give the victim a valid case.
- A security company that was responsible for protecting or guarding the victim. If the victim had hired a security company to guard his or her property and/or person, that company may be held legally responsible for injuries the victim sustained due to their failure to provide adequate security.
- A professional, such as a psychologist, therapist or teacher, that failed to disclose a threat to the victim. Working professionals may have an obligation to report specific threats disclosed to them from their patients or students. If they received a specific threat and failed to report it, this may mean that they can be considered responsible for any resulting crime of violence.
Take this opportunity to spean to a violent crime attorney and find out whether you have grounds for a lawsuit against one or more parties for the injuries you have experienced. Contact Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC today.
Filing a Civil Claim for an Act of Violent Crime
In most states, there are number of causes of action—the legal basis for filing a tort action against another person—under which you may seek damages for an act of violent crime. These include assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The elements of each cause of action are slightly different. For example, in a tort for intentional infliction of emotional distress, the plaintiff will have to prove that:
- The defendant acted intentionally or recklessly;
- The defendant’s action was outrageous or extreme; and
- The defendant’s conduct caused injury or/and severe emotional harm to the victim.
Take Action to File a Claim Today
When a person commits a violent crime against you, you can make sure that justice is served by filing a civil claim for damages. A civil suit can yield damages for all economic and noneconomic losses that you have suffered. The attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC, have represented dozens of other victims just like you, and have the experience that your unique case requires. Schedule your first consultation by calling us today.