In 2015, the most recent year with available data, 1, 197, 704 violent crimes were reported to the United States' Uniform Crime Reporting System (UCR). Of those nearly 1.2 million violent crimes, 15,696 were murders (71% perpetrated with firearms), 90,185 were rapes, and 327,374 were robberies (theft with force). Those robberies accounted for about $390 million in losses, while property crimes and larceny (theft without force) accounted for over $14 billion in losses.
1.2 million violent crimes means at least that many crime victims, and more when you consider the effects a violent crime can have on a victim's family members, friends, and even co-workers. That is why catastrophic injury attoreys at Messa & Associates use thier skills and experience to fight for the rights of crime victims in civil court.
We have seen the devastating consequences that criminal acts have on their victims. Prosecution and jail time are great ways to potentially rehabilitate an offender. These also serve to help protect citizens from that offender’s future, possibly harmful, infractions. Jail time does little, however, to assist a victim’s transition back to a normal life. The loss of a spouse or a child, or permanent injuries sustained as a result of a crime, are events that have lasting impact on someone’s quality of life. Often, it’s necessary to file a civil lawsuit against a perpetrator of a crime in order to recover for economic damages like medical bills and lost wages, or non-economic damages like loss of companionship, emotional distress, pain and suffering, or loss of enjoyment of life.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RESTITUTION AND COMPENSATION?
Restitution is money paid to a crime victim by the offender, ordered by a criminal court. Usually, it is part of the offender’s sentence.
Compensation is money paid to a crime victim, ordered by a civil court as the result of a law suit.
CAN A VICTIM RECEIVE BOTH RESTITUTION AND COMPENSATION?
Yes. A criminal can be sentenced to restitution by a judge in criminal court to reimburse a victim for costs related to medical treatment and lost wages. The offender can also be sued in civil court for non-economic or punitive damages related to the injuries they caused. Usually, if a crime victim receives restitution and wins a verdict in civil court, the verdict amount is decreased by the amount that they’ve already received in restitution.
HOW IS RESTITUTION OR COMPENSATION PAID?
Often, a judge will look at whether or not a criminal has the means to pay before they order them to pay restitution. In some cases, a court will parse out a total amount into smaller monthly installments so that the restitution can feasibly be paid. In civil court, if an offender doesn’t have the means to pay, it is unlikely a civil case can be brought.
QUESTION: WHAT DOES IT COST TO SUE A PERPETRATOR FOR DAMAGES RELATED TO A CRIME?
As is the case with all other personal injury claims filed by Messa & Associates, obtaining a lawyer to represent you in a civil case against an offender costs nothing. There are no up-front fees or hourly charges. You’d pay for services provided only if a settlement or verdict is reached. At that point, a formerly agreed upon percentage is taken from the recovery amount, as well as any costs incurred by the law firm to litigate the claim. In other words, if you are the victim of a crime and find yourself struggling to regain your former quality of life, you have nothing to lose by seeking out an attorney for a free consultation to ask questions and find out if your case could be fought in court.
With offices in Collingswood (NJ) and Philadelphia (PA), Messa & Associates makes it convenient for you to talk with a personal injury attorney at no charge regarding your current situation. Get a FREE consultation from a professional who understands PA, NJ, and US law and can clearly explain to you the best strategy for your particular case. Take advantage of the advice that comes from years of work and many successes on cases like your own. Call today – 1-877-MessaLaw.