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Crime Victims May Be Able to File Civil Lawsuits against a Perpetrator or Other Responsible Party

June 21, 2012

Regardless of the outcome of the criminal prosecution, or even if there was no prosecution, crime victims can file civil lawsuits against offenders and other responsible parties. Unlike the criminal justice process, the civil justice system does not attempt to determine an offender’s guilt or innocence. Offenders are also not put in prison. Rather, civil courts attempt to ascertain whether an offender or a third party is liable for the injuries sustained as a result of the crime. If defendants are found civilly liable, courts may order them to pay monetary damages to victims. While money awarded in civil lawsuits can never fully compensate a victim for the trauma of victimization or the loss of a loved one, it can be a valuable resource to help crime victims rebuild their lives. Moreover, the exposure to civil liability is a powerful incentive for landlords, businessmen, and other proprietors to enact the security measures necessary to prevent future victimizations. {source: The National Crime Victim Bar Association’s website}

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