What Type of Recovery Exists for Assault Victims?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Marc Lenahan with Lenahan Law Firm.
When a person suffers an assault, it’s easy to think that the worst is over. While this may be true in regard to the victim’s immediate safety, an assault victim will likely face continued expenses in the form of medical bills, therapy costs, and even lost wages for time taken off work to recover physically and emotionally from the incident. The trauma from an assault can linger and even develop into psychological injuries. It’s important to remember that multiple avenues for potential recovery are available to assault victims, even before litigation has wrapped up.
While these methods of recovery are not often discussed, they are important to remember and to direct assault victims to if you or someone you know has suffered an assault. For help filing a civil claim for relief after an assault, or for help navigating assault victim resources, reach out to a personal injury attorney with a specialization in crime victims.
Every state has its own program for crime/assault victim compensation.
Each state has a government-funded program designed to offer compensation to victims, families, and even eligible witnesses after an assault. Crime victim compensation through your state’s crime victim support program may help cover medical and dental expenses, counseling, lost wage support, and even funeral and burial expenses in the unfortunate circumstance this is necessary. For information about your state’s crime victim compensation program, visit the National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards.
While state crime victim compensation programs can be extremely helpful to assault victims in the short term and will likely be received much sooner than a settlement or verdict money, it is unlikely to cover many continued expenses, such as future medical bills and therapy costs. This is where it’s a good idea to consider additional avenues of recovery, such as a civil personal injury claim.
Assault victims can file a civil claim against their attacker, in addition to the criminal charges already in the works.
There is a pervasive misconception in the world of violent crime lawsuits, that an assault victim cannot file a civil personal injury claim against their attacker until the criminal claim has been resolved. This is not the case. In fact, due to the common backlog in the criminal justice system, and the time it takes for a case to resolve, it’s a good idea to file a civil personal injury claim as soon as possible after the assault. It’s important to remember that unlike civil lawsuits, criminal lawsuits are filed against the supposed perpetrator by the state, rather than by the victim. This means that while a criminal lawsuit may occasionally produce a small financial recovery for crime victims and additional protections such as jail time or probation for the accused, the recovery is unlikely to come close to that which can be won in a civil claim.
Damages that can be sought in a civil assault victim claim may include the following:
- Past, present, and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Life care expenses
- Costs of continued therapy
- Compensation for the victim’s pain, suffering, and mental anguish.
If filing a personal injury claim seems financially out of the question, it may help to note that personal injury attorneys with a specialization in crime victim advocacy generally offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, which means their clients are not required to pay unless they win their case. If you or a loved one suffered an assault and want help filing a civil personal injury claim or taking advantage of your state’s crime victim compensation program, reach out to a personal injury attorney specializing in crime victim advocacy.