What Are My Rights As A Victim Of Crime?
Thankfully, since the early 1980s, many states including New York have instituted legislation that grants crime victims a voice, and specific rights within the criminal justice process. As a victim of crime, you have the right to protection from threats, retrieve stolen property that is being held as evidence, and make an oral statement to the court at the defendant’s sentencing. To learn more about your rights, visit the New York County District Attorney’s Office website here. In addition to these rights, which offer you a place within the criminal justice system, you are also allowed to seek compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. Crime victims may sue criminals themselves for the harm inflicted by their crimes in civil court. In some cases, you may also be able to pursue compensation from third – parties, people whose negligence led to the crime in which you were injured.
Negligent Security & Premises Liability
At the bottom of many horrific crimes lie negligent property owners. When you rent an apartment, buy a condo, or stay in a motel, you not only deserve to feel safe, you deserve to be safe. When you shop at a grocery store, bodega, or other business, shouldn’t the owner do everything in their power to protect you, a paying customer? The answer, of course, is yes. In fact, property owners have a legal obligation to maintain their properties in reasonably safe condition. Buildings and businesses in high crime risk areas, or with a history of crimes, must protect residents, visitors, and customers from the criminals who would do them harm. This protection extends to crime prevention measures, simple necessities like:
- Working locks
- Adequate lighting
- Security cameras
- Background checks
- Security personnel
- Prohibitive fences
If these measures are not taken, or are improperly maintained, would-be defenses can create loopholes for criminals, allowing access to dangerous individuals. If you were injured, robbed, or assaulted, you may be able to sue a property owner for failing to adequately protect you from crime.
Victims Injured In A Robbery & Burglary
Every year, New York is home to over 37,000 robberies and burglaries. How many of these traumatizing crimes could be prevented if property owner’s did their part to protect us? We may never know, but justice is possible. The criminal justice system attempt to determine whether or not a defendant is guilty of a particular crime. But this isn’t the same as justice. And although New York offers compensation and restitution offers to many victims of robbery and burglary, the amounts are severely limited. True justice involves seeking compensation for all of your damages: physical, emotional, psychological, and financial. Achieving this true justice is the sole mission of personal injury lawyers.
What Is The Difference Between Robbery & Burglary?
Both concepts involve theft, or the unlawful entry of an individual who intends to steal or commit a felony. Robbery involves taking something of value by force or threat. A victim must be present for robbery to have taken place. For a crime to be considered burglary, a victim doesn’t have to be there. Burglary centers for its legal definition on the unlawful entry aspect. In fact, nothing has to have actually been stolen for a crime to be labeled burglary. In either case, victims may pursue justice and compensation in a civil lawsuit.
Rape & Sexual Assault Enabled By Negligence Of Institutions
American laws recognize that rape and sexual assault are two of the most horrendous crimes possible. Men, women, teens, and children who have been sexually victimized may suffer from severe physical and emotional trauma, damage that can last indefinitely into the future. And while New York’s criminal justice system is tough on criminals, it does little to assist victims in their recovery. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), victims of sexual assault may experience:
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- A higher likelihood of substance abuse
- Sleep disorders
- Eating disorders
- Increased risk of suicide
If you were sexually victimized, a compassionate, experienced personal injury lawyer can help inform you fully of your legal rights. For more information, click here.
Crimes On Campus
Schools and colleges have an essential responsibility to protect students from violent crime. And yet, sexual assault in academic institutions has reached epidemic proportions. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) states that “the percentage of completed or attempted rape victimization among women in higher educational institutions may be between 20% and 25% over the course of a college career.” Every day, we are made aware of more colleges that actively attempt to protect the perpetrators of sexual crimes. Colleges across America are complicit in creating an environment of silence, and disenfranchised victimhood. The NSVRC estimates that “less than 5% of completed or attempted rapes against college women [are] reported to law enforcement.” If you were made the victim of a sexual crime on campus, you may be able to pursue justice in a personal injury lawsuit. Colleges across New York can be held responsible for failing to protect students against foreseeable crimes.
I’ve Been Injured During/By A Crime. What Should I Do Now?
After a crime where you were injured, you may feel alone, unsafe, and traumatized. We fully understand how difficult this time must be, and it may seem as if your faith in others will never be restored. But as the victim of crime, you have rights. Legal recourse can help you begin to rebuild your life, through financial compensation and some degree of emotional closure. Banville Law is based in Manhattan, but we serve clients throughout New York, including:
At Banville Law, we have only one goal: to help you recover. We want to take the pressure off your shoulders, and help carry some of the burden. And our lawyers work on a contingency-fee basis, so you owe us nothing unless we win your case. Schedule a free consultation by calling (917) 551-6690 today.
Victims and their loved ones are frequently unsure of what to expect when they choose to consult a lawyer about their personal injury case. At Banville Law, we want our clients to be comfortable and are happy to answer any questions you may have. Below is a list of questions we are frequently asked during the litigation process.