Douglasville Crime Victim Lawyer
Being victimized by a criminal can be scary, especially being victimized by violent crimes from attacks, shootings, sexual assaults, and rapes.
And, although the criminal justice system exists to punish criminals, you don't control that process. Also, the standard of proof is very high, and it can feel discouraging.
But, you're not helpless.
Our civil justice system exists to empower victims like you to obtain the compensation - and closure - you need and deserve. You don't need to wait on the criminal justice system to pursue your civil claims.
What is the difference between the civil and criminal justice systems?
Both the civil and criminal justice systems make up the United States legal system, and each has their own purpose. Broadly, the civil justice system enforces the rights of private individuals and entities. Meanwhile, the criminal justice system enforces government criminal statutes to deter, prevent, and punish individuals for breaking the law.
In criminal cases, the defendant must be found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Understandably, this is a high standard. In our American experiment, we don't want to deprive an individual of their right to life and liberty through incarceration without reasonable certainty of their guilt.
The burden of proof in civil cases is much lower. Civil cases hold the plaintiff responsible for proving the defendant "was more responsible than not" for their wrongs, which is known as the preponderance of evidence standard.
Commonly, this is illustrated by attorneys by analogizing it to equally-balanced scales. If the plaintiff tips the scales, even just slightly, this is described as preponderance of the evidence.
So, even though a sexual or violent criminal may not be criminally "convicted" for one reason or another does not absolve them of responsibility. Our civil justice system exists to dignify that culpability.
How much does a Douglasville crime victim attorney cost?
Crime victim attorneys work solely on a contingency fee basis. This means, you pay nothing unless we are able to resolve your case favorably.
There are no upfront costs or retainer.
It literally costs you nothing to hire a crime victim attorney to investigate your case. If your case fails to settle or resolve for one reason or another, you owe nothing.
In this way, our crime victim attorney takes on the risk. We are betting on our legal skill, knowledge, experience, and investigative efforts to resolve your case favorably.
What types of compensation - or damages - can a Douglasville crime victim pursue?
First, a crime victim may be entitled to compensation via the Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program.
As far as civil remedies, a crime victim may be entitled to a number of types of compensation, including:
Medical expense (past and future);
Lost wages (past and future);
Pain and suffering;
Disability (temporary or permanent);
Emotional distress (including psychological injuries);
Loss of enjoyment of life.
If the crime victim is married, the spouse may be entitled to damages for loss of consortium as well.
Who can share in the responsibility for my injuries?
COURTS, JAILS, & PROBATION:
Crime Victim Advocacy Council
Georgia Office of Victim Services
(Victim Witness Assistance Program)
(Battered Women's Shelter)
It's difficult to answer this question broadly, because the circumstances of the particular crimes can be so different. With that caveat, anybody who participated in the crime - or anybody who had a duty to foresee and prevent the crime - can be held responsible. This includes:
Property Owner and/or Occupier (i.e. an apartment complex owner that fails to perform a background check on a known sex offender);
Security Firm (i.e. security guards who are hired specifically to protect you from a particular type of crime);
Criminal's Employer (i.e. failure to perform background checks, train, and/or supervise someone who commits a crime while on the job);
Vehicle Owner (i.e. if a vehicle owner negligently entrusts their vehicle to someone who is drunk);
Bar/Restaurant Owner (under Dram Shop laws, anyone who serves alcohol to another person who later gets in a drunk driving accident may be responsible)
When can a property or business owner share in the responsibility for crime?
A property or business owner can share in responsibility because of their nondelegable, civil duty to make their premises safe.
And generally, a property owner or business owner can share in the responsibility for crime when they have reason to foresee that particular types of crime are likely to take place. This is most often seen for attacks, shootings, rapes, and other sexual assaults.
Usually, proving foreseeability is done in two ways: (1) showing that the business or property is located in a known, high-crime area, or (2) demonstrating that there has been a pattern or history of substantially similar crime on the property.
For drunk drivers, there are specific statutes that allow you to pursue claims against any establishment that provided alcoholic beverages.
How can a property or business owner share in the responsibility for my injury?
A property or business owner can be can share in the responsibility for attacks, shootings, and rapes for several various reasons. At the heart of their responsiblity, it must be proved that they allowed foreseeable criminal activity to take place on their property without taking reasonable steps to make the property safe:
Crime can be foreseeable by taking simple, common-sense steps. Unfortunately, property and business owner often neglect these steps:
Background checks of employees;
Background checks of tenants;
Analyzing and reviewing internal complaints; and
Conducting as security audit on risks, protocols, and training.
Property and business owners should also take steps to deter foreseeable crime on their property. This means identifying and mitigating criminal opportunity, including:
Provide adequate lighting;
Utilize adequate surveillance cameras;
Constructing fences and gates (to limit access);
Installing and maintaining operational locks on doors and windows;
Using security guards, when justified;
MONITORING & RESPONSE
When specific crimes do occur on the property, a property or business owner is not allowed to simply sit on their hands - they should take appropriate action. The monitoring and responsive measures could include:
Adequate and periodic inspections of the property to discover criminal activity;
Installing well-lighted emergency call boxes on large campuses;
Monitoring surveillance cameras; and
Notifying law enforcement timely.
The polices, procedures, training, and supervision of the businesses becomes important when proving monitoring and response of a property and/or business owner.
Finally, if a property and/or business owner is aware of the risk of injury and/or rape on their property, they should provide a warning to their customers. This almost never happens.
What are different types of crime victims that we represent?
Wheale Law Firm may be able to represent any victim of a crime. Most often, the crime victims we represent include victims of the following:
Shootings and gun violence;
Robbery or mugging;
Drunk driving; and
Where do crimes usually take place?
Violent crimes, such as shootings and sexual assaults, can happen anywhere. But, the number of crimes - or the likelihood of crime - can increase in certain areas, usually due to the motive and opportunity available to the criminal. These include:
Hotels and motels;
Nightclubs and bars;
Large campuses (such as schools, universities, and strip malls);
Parking lots and parking garages;
Stairwells, elevators, and hallways; and
Douglasville Crime Statistics
Based on information from the FBI, below is the data from 2019 for Douglas County, which includes Douglasville:
9 reported rapes
1 reported homicide
41 reported aggravated assaults
Contact Wheale Law Firm's Douglasville Crime Victim Attorney.
All Consultations are Free.
You likely have a lot of unanswered questions. Here's what we suggest:
Review this page to gain a general understanding of some types and causes of crime injuries.
Next, visit our frequently asked questions to shed more light on what the future may hold.
Finally, take advantage of a free consultation with our crime victim attorney. No commitments.
You Deserve Answers. We're Here to Help.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
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Very Professional, Very polite, and took care of everything that was needed to be taken care of. I strongly recommend Patrick. He is the best.
I highly recommend him for all your legal needs. He will aggressively pursue your best interests. He pulled me from the depths of despair. He literally took me from Ruin to Riches! He's definitely the tip of the spear. If you hire Mr. Wheale you will not be disappointed. Mr. Wheale Thank you for winning my case and restoring my peace of mind.