Civil Remedies for Victims of Crime

Des Moines Civil Remedies Lawyer

Even if they have to relive their nightmare over and over through the course of the trial of their perpetrator, many survivors of crime are left without remedy. Even when the justice system succeeds in punishing the perpetrator, many victims are left with physical, psychological and financial injuries. Many survivors of criminal acts do not know that they may have civil remedies for their damages.

"Civil Remedies" are available in the civil court system, as opposed to the criminal court system. In other words, the survivor of the crime may hire a lawyer to sue the perpetrator or a third party for the recovery of damages that were caused by the crime. The money recovered in a lawsuit is referred to as "damages". Damages may be awarded for be physical, emotional and financial injuries.

A "tort" is the legal term for an action that results in an injury or harm. Damages in a tort cause of action include reimbursement for loss of earnings and earning capacity, pain and suffering, and medical expenses. Damages can be recovered for current injuries and losses from the injury that can be expected in the future.

An action against the actual perpetrator will be based on some intentional or negligent act by the perpetrator. A few of the common intentional tort claims that can be brought against a perpetrator are assault, battery, wrongful death, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The problem with a claim against a perpetrator, either based on an intentional tort, or negligence, is often the perpetrator doesn't have any money. Civil lawsuits are about compensation. If you win and the defendant can't pay, there is no real victory. If the perpetrator has no money or does not have an insurance policy that will cover the damages, there will be nothing available to pay the damages the jury orders. This is why it is important to consider whether a third party might be responsible for the survivor's damages. Apartments, malls, and other parties may have the funds to pay damages for the harm they have caused.

A negligent security claim is frequently a means for victims of assault, rape and other crimes to recover damages. Apartments, stores, malls and other parties may have the funds that must exist in order for damages to be paid. We have represented the victims of crime in a variety of civil actions, including:

  • We sued a landlord for creating conditions that invited crime.
  • We have sued hotels, restaurants and bars for negligent security
  • We sued a police department for its failure to protect a known potential victim from harm
  • We have sued the perpetrators of sexual assault and child abuse.

Filing a civil action provides an opportunity for many survivors to finally find compensation for the crime they suffered. It doesn't turn back the hands of time, but it helps in the process of moving on. Usually, these kinds of lawsuits must be brought within two years of the date on which the crime occurred.

Learn more about how to protect yourself from crime and how Roxanne and her colleagues have assisted victims of crime.

Protect Yourself from Apartment Crime

Civil Remedies for Victims of Crime — Case Summaries

More information on Civil Remedies for Victims of Crime can be found in Roxanne Conlin's AmJur article at 35 AmJur Trials 1 (1988) and at the National Center for Victims of Crime's website at http://www.ncvc.org/.