What Are Your Options if a Loved One Was Killed in an Act of Terror?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Marc Lenahan with Lenahan Law Firm.
Acts of terror can be hard to define, but under the Code of Federal Regulations, the term “acts of terror” typically refes to violent acts perpetrated in order to achieve a social or political objective (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85). Acts of Terror are not only tragic and frightening when they occur, but they can also leave grieving loved ones of the victims unsure of how to pursue justice. If the victim was a primary wage-earner for their family or underwent medical treatment leaving expensive medical bills behind, there may be additional financial stress on top of the emotional distress of losing a loved one in such a heinous way. However, there may be options for recovery. If your loved one was killed in an act of terror, you have the right to seek compensation from whatever parties made the attack possible.
Companies and governments may be liable for allowing the act of terror to occur.
Acts of terror often occur on a wide scale, which may require large funds. In these scenarios, a terrorist may have received financing from certain companies or governments, making those parties at least partially liable for the resulting deaths and damages to families of victims. In these scenarios, the victim’s loved ones have a legal right to seek compensation for damages including medical bills and lost wages to pain and suffering and loss of care and companionship. While filing a wrongful death claim against a potentially powerful corporation or government entity might sound intimidating, there are personal injury attorneys who specialize in this field and can fight for recovery on your behalf.
The manager of the property where the attack happened could also be liable.
Business owners, landlords, property managers, and anyone else who is responsible for upholding a reasonable level of physical safety on a particular premises could be considered partially liable if their negligence allowed the attack to occur when, where, or how it did. For example, if a nightclub did not provide reasonable access to emergency exits and/or failed to provide reasonable training to their security personnel to identify terror threats, and an act of terror then occurred at the nightclub, the nightclub could be liable for resulting damages. In this scenario, the family of a deceased loved one may be eligible to file a negligent security claim to seek compensation for their loved one’s suffering and death, as well as the impact that death will have on the family’s life.
Victims can file an injury claim even if a criminal trial is ongoing.
In any scenario where an injury or death occurred due to criminal acts, it’s important to remember that civil and criminal lawsuits are completely different. There is a common misconception that one must wait for the other to conclude, but this is not the case. Criminal trials typically focus on punishing the wrongdoer rather than specifically compensating the victim. However, a civil personal injury or wrongful death claim instead focuses on the economic and non-economic damages a crime victim and their family suffers as a result of the criminal violence.
Additionally, statutes of limitations or deadlines may apply to civil injury cases, making it a better idea to talk to a personal injury attorney about filing a civil lawsuit as soon as possible, rather than waiting for the results of the criminal trial. It should be noted that the results of a criminal trial have little bearing on a civil trial, as the burden of proof required to reach a verdict differs significantly between the two.
To learn more about your options if a loved one was killed in an act of terror or violent crime, reach out to a personal injury attorney specializing in crime or terror victim advocacy.