Fort Lauderdale Crime Victim Lawyer
Experiencing a crime is hard to imagine, but it’s, unfortunately, more common than we think
This means that there’s a significant chance that you or a loved one in Fort Lauderdale will face such a situation. When this occurs, it has a ripple effect on your life. In Florida, the law allows crime victims to pursue civil action against the perpetrator to take care of any injuries or other damages.
INJURY VICTIMS CAN COUNT ON COWEN EDWARDS
At Cowen Edwards, we understand the challenges that you face when you’re the victim of a violent crime. We’re proud to offer free consultations with our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers, who can help you understand your rights and options. If you’re in such a situation, contact us today to up your free consultation to learn more.
HOW CAN YOU BE INJURED WHEN YOU’RE A VICTIM OF A CRIME IN FORT LAUDERDALE?
Any number of accidents can lead to you being injured in Fort Lauderdale, but when a crime is involved, it makes the situation that much more difficult. Worse yet, there are a variety of different causes that can lead to these incidents. Most likely, though, they’ll be caused by negligent security by the property owner, which is a legal concept that closely mirrors the negligence concept that establishes liability in other civil cases.
Like that concept, negligent security has several elements that must be met:
- Duty of Care – The owner or manager of a property needs to make sure the area is safe for people who are there.
- Breach of Duty – If they don’t do enough to keep it safe, even though they know it’s risky, they’re not doing their job properly.
- Foreseeability – If they should have known that something bad could happen, like a fight or a robbery, they should have been ready for it.
- Causation – If their lack of safety measures directly led to you getting hurt, the owner or manager is responsible for the harm.
- Damages – There has to be actual injury or damages that happened to you because of the negligent security. In other words, there has to be a “causal link” between the breach and your injuries.
Examples of situations where negligent security claims might arise include:
- Poor lighting in a parking lot, which can lead to incidents of assault or theft.
- Lack of security personnel or surveillance in a hotel, leading to unauthorized access to rooms and potential harm to guests.
- Failure to implement security measures in an apartment complex, allowing intruders to enter and commit crimes against residents.
- Inadequate security at a public event, leading to crowd-related injuries or altercations.
- Poor security measures in a nightclub or bar, contributing to incidents of violence or injury to patrons.
Keep in mind that crimes can happen unexpectedly, and the ones mentioned are only a few examples that can lead to injuries. Making sure the police and the community work together to keep everyone safe is really important to prevent and handle these situations. If you’ve been a victim of a crime or saw one happen, it’s really important to let the local authorities and the property know right away. But it’s equally as important to understand what can happen to you in these situations.
COMMON INJURIES FOR CRIME VICTIMS IN FORT LAUDERDALE
Again, there are many different types of crimes that can happen to a victim in Fort Lauderdale. In many of these scenarios, there will be both physical and financial harm that you can take legal action for, on top of any criminal charges that stem from the incident. Generally speaking, the types of injuries you suffer depend on the criminal act that was committed against you. Thus, if you’re the victim of a crime in Fort Lauderdale, you can expect to be dealing with any of the following:
- Assault and battery injuries – Inadequate security measures can lead to incidents of assault and battery, resulting in injuries like cuts, bruises, broken bones, and even more severe injuries like traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
- Robbery-related injuries – Poor security can lead to robberies, which might result in physical injuries caused by forceful actions taken by the assailant, such as being pushed, shoved, or even physically harmed during a robbery.
- Slip and fall injuries – Insufficient lighting, uneven surfaces, or other security-related hazards can contribute to slip and fall incidents, causing injuries like sprains, fractures, and head injuries.
- Sexual assault and harassment injuries – Negligent security can lead to incidents of sexual assault and harassment, resulting in both physical and emotional injuries for the victims.
- Property damage-related injuries – In some cases, inadequate security can result in property damage incidents where individuals might get injured while attempting to protect their belongings or escape from a dangerous situation.
- Emotional and psychological injuries – Negligent security incidents can cause emotional distress, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the trauma of experiencing or witnessing an unsafe situation.
- Gunshot and stabbing injuries – In cases where firearms or weapons are involved, negligent security incidents might lead to gunshot or stabbing injuries, potentially causing life-threatening harm.
Every situation is different, and the injuries can change based on what actually happened to you. If you or someone you know was the victim of a crime and hurt because of a negligent security accident, it’s a good idea to talk to our team of personal injury lawyers. We can give you advice that fits your situation.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A CRIMINAL AND CIVIL CASE IN FLORIDA
While they usually come from the same incident, there are significant differences between a criminal and a civil case in Florida. The major difference, obviously, is that a criminal case is initiated by law enforcement and involves a different procedure than a civil case, which is initiated by you as a private citizen.
The other major difference is that a criminal case pursues criminal punishments, including jail time for the perpetrator. On the other hand, a civil case seeks civil penalties–usually financial compensation–from the perpetrator.
With all that said, there are other differences that you’ll need to be aware of if you’re the victim of a crime and want to pursue your legal options:
- Burden of proof – The burden of proof in a civil case is lower than in a criminal case. In a civil case, you simply have to prove negligence or injury via a “preponderance of evidence”. In a criminal case, the burden of proof is more extensive, often called “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
- Outcomes – Both civil and criminal cases seek certain outcomes. In a civil case, you’re trying to recover “damages”, which are things you lost or were taken from you in the incident. In a criminal case, the plaintiff–usually the state–is seeking to punish the person that committed the crime with fines or jail time.
- Legal proceedings – In a civil case, the case process involves filing a civil complaint against the defendant that lays out what happened and what damages you’re trying to get. You’re also asking for a trial before a jury. In a criminal case, the complaint also lays out what happened, but is more geared toward the potential punishment for the defendant. A criminal case also seeks a trial before a judge and jury.
- Verdicts – Lastly, when both cases conclude, verdicts could be handed down by a jury. The major difference between these two is that the jury in a civil case will be asked if the evidence proves that the defendant was negligent and that led to your injury. In a criminal case, the jury will be asked if the evidence and prosecution proved the defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
DAMAGES AVAILABLE IN A FORT LAUDERDALE CRIME VICTIM’S CLAIM
When you decide to file a civil complaint against the defendant after you’ve been injured by a criminal act in Fort Lauderdale, it’s important to understand what you can gain. More than likely, the incident will have left you with serious injuries and losses. Florida personal injury law makes an attempt to remedy this by allowing you to get financial support from the defendant for the injuries that they caused. In legal terms, this is known as “damages.” In these situations, you could potentially recover:
- You, as a victim, may be able to recover costs for medical bills related to injuries sustained during the crime. This can include hospitalization, surgeries, treatments, medications, and rehabilitation.
- Damages for physical pain, emotional distress, and psychological trauma resulting from the crime may be awarded. This can encompass both immediate suffering and long-term emotional impacts.
- If you’re is unable to work due to injuries from the crime, you may be able to recover compensation for lost wages and potential future earnings.
- If your personal property was damaged or stolen during the crime, you might seek reimbursement for the cost of repair or replacement.
- In cases of homicide or severe injury leading to death, your surviving family members may be eligible for damages to cover funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and emotional suffering.
- You can also recover costs related to mental health services required to cope with the emotional aftermath of the crime.
- Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to recover attorney fees and legal expenses incurred while pursuing your claim.
- In cases of gross negligence or intentional harm, the court might award punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future.
Remember, the types of compensation you can get and how much can change depending on your situation and the laws in Fort Lauderdale. If you or someone you know was a victim of a crime and wants to understand your options, it’s smart to talk to our team. We know about injuries and crime victim rights and can help you understand all the ways you might get support under the law.
Do criminal cases have a statute of limitations in Florida?
Yes, certain crimes have their own statute of limitations or deadline by which you can file a claim. First-degree felonies have a four-year statute of limitations, while lower-degree felonies have a three-year statute of limitations. A personal injury claim has a two-year statute of limitations.
What should I do right after being a victim of a crime?
First, make sure you’re safe. Then, report the crime to the police and get medical help if needed. Preserve any evidence you can, like photos or names of witnesses.
What if the person responsible for the crime can’t pay?
Sometimes, insurance or other sources can cover the compensation. Our lawyers can help you figure out the best approach.
EXPERIENCED FORT LAUDERDALE PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS
Being injured in an accident or incident is always difficult to deal with, but even more so when you’re the victim of a crime. In a lot of cases, there are certain factors that property owners or managers should have taken care of that led to your injury. No matter what the circumstances are that led to your injuries, our team of experienced personal injury lawyers at Cowen Edwards can help you get the support you deserve.
We’ll guide you through the legal process and support you every step of the way. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.