Crime Victim Rights Attorney

A victim of a crime has the right to file a lawsuit seeking financial compensation for injuries sustained as a result of the crime from the criminal act of another. An example would be a lawsuit that we filed against the landlord who harassed and assaulted the tenant. Another example would be a lawsuit that we had against a bar where a patron was over-served and assaulted, and killed, another patron of that same bar. Our Crime Victim Rights Attorney can help you.

A civil lawsuit may help the victim or the survivors of the victim where Court ordered criminal restitution.

Restitution for Losses

As part of the sentencing of a criminal defendant a court may order the defendant to reimburse certain expenses of a crime victim. Restitution is very limited and a civil lawsuit is a must for any victim of a crime.  The victim can recover out of pocket expenses, for example.

Arizona Crime Victim Compensation

The Arizona Crime Victim Fund is used to reimburse crime victims for certain losses and expenses resulting from a crime.

The fund is sometimes used as a last resort where the other venues of compensation have already been exhausted such as health insurance, auto insurance, and medical payments. The State of Arizona also has a limitation for funeral expenses in the amount of $5,000.00.  Call the Crime Victim Rights Attorney in our office for help.

Lawsuit After Victim of Crime is Injured

Many times a victim of a crime will want to be heard in front of a jury. The jury will determine whether both compensatory damages and punitive damages can be awarded to the victims of the crime. The difference between the two is that one will compensate the victim for the pain and suffering and the other will punish the defendant for the crime.

An assault or a drunk-driving incident qualifies for punitive damages under Arizona law. Extreme negligence or gross negligence can also qualify for period of damages but the judge must allow you to make that claim before the trial is tried. The punitive damages are an incentive for the public to avoid committing such an assault on the public.

The Civil Court, through a jury, will award damages to the victim. Thus, the Civil Court holds the defendant financially responsible for the crime. At times, the defendant may have an applicable insurance policy that will pay for those damages if the defendant does not have any funds of his or her own.

Punitive Damages Exclusions by Insurance Companies

Punitive damages are permitted, where appropriate, for the purpose of punishing the conduct which occurred or deterring similar conduct in the future. Michael v. Cole, 122 Ariz. 450, 452, 595 P.2d 995, 997 (1979); Price v. Hartford Acc. & Indem. Co., 108 Ariz. 485, 487, 502 P.2d 522, 524 (1972); Dobbs, Remedies § 3.9 at 204 (1973). Punitive damages, therefore, are granted in addition to and not as part of damages awarded as compensation for injury to person or property.

Hence, the Arizona Supreme Court has held  that the objectives of compensating actual injury and loss sought to be accomplished by the act and by the decisions in Schecter and Jenkins would not be advanced in any way by prohibiting insurers from excluding coverage for punitive damages or by requiring that the mandatory, minimum insurance required by the act cover punitive damage awards.

Nor would the policy furthered by the punitive damage rule be served by compelling insurers to pay punitive damage awards from such coverage. Such a rule would, instead, result in a requirement that the punishment be levied upon the insurer rather than the insured and eventually would lessen the deterrent effect of punitive damage awards. An insurer cannot explicitly exclude coverage for punitive damages under Arizona’s minimum coverage statute as required by A.R.S. § 28-1170(B)(2). See Cassel v. Schacht, 683 P.2d 294, 140 Ariz. 495 (Ariz., 1984).

Contact a  crime victim attorney today!