If you are injured, either personally or financially, by another’s crime, you should know what to expect from the criminal justice system. You also should look after your rights by speaking with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
The criminal justice system is designed to protect society first and then the individual victim. The prosecutor wants to protect you and society by making sure criminals are punished. The prosecutor’s office can make sure bail conditions protect you from further contact from the perpetrator. The prosecutor can even obtain an order forcing the defendant to pay restitution, but restitution is not designed to compensate you for your pain and suffering.
That is why it is best to speak to a civil personal injury lawyer trusts as soon as possible. If an insurance company calls you regarding the crime, politely ask if you could call them back. Their goal is to cut off insurance coverage for the criminal’s wrongdoing. I have seen it many times. A personal injury lawyer can steer you around the potential pitfalls.
You should not mention to anyone that you are seeking private counsel with a personal injury lawyer. First, it is no one’s business. Second, even though you have been injured by a crime, defense attorneys and insurance adjusters will make it seem like you sought legal assistance because you are only after money. Your communication with a personal injury lawyer is confidential and secure and you should keep it that way.
Most criminal matters settle through plea negotiations and the prosecutor often will ask your opinion on their plea offers. You also may be contacted through the defendant’s lawyer or their hired private investigator. You are under no obligation to speak to them and should politely decline. Your statement to the police is all they need.
In some cases, reporters will call crime victims for their statements. Again, declining politely is the best practice. Your conversation with a reporter, all factual, all true, can eliminate any chance for you to recover fair compensation for your injuries. This is why you sometimes will see attorneys make statements for clients and their families.
A criminal defendant may get off fairly easy in plea negotiations due to difficulties in prosecuting a criminal case. For example, a prosecutor must prove the State’s case beyond a reasonable doubt, but a personal injury lawyer need only prove your case is more likely than not true. That difference plays a big role in plea negotiations. Because the civil standard of proof is lower, a sweet deal for the criminal defendant does not mean he is off the hook civilly. In many cases, a personal injury lawyer can make sure that the criminal pays for his crime with more than just a weekend in jail and a modest fine.
Prosecutors are generally very good lawyers and great people, but they can only protect you so far. They have huge caseloads and pressures from all sides that force them to make decisions that are not always approved by their victims. They want to do what they can for you, but there are some things only a personal injury lawyer can do. Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no fee for the consultation in most cases. They work only for you and can tell you fairly quickly whether you have a viable claim. It makes sense to call.