Crime victims often feel helpless and vulnerable after their traumatic experience. However, it is important to remember that if you are the victim of a crime in Florida, you have rights. The attorneys at Edwards Pottinger LLC can help you assert those rights. For your benefit, below, we detail your legal rights as a crime victim in Florida.
What Are My Rights in the State of Florida?
Florida passed several laws to protect crime victims and make sure they receive fair and compassionate treatment. These rights extend to both criminal and civil court.
You Have the Right to Information.
Crime victims may feel overwhelmed with both the criminal and civil court process. As a victim, you are entitled to information regarding the various stages of the criminal justice process, including information regarding all proceedings and hearings from the state. You are also entitled to know when an officer arrests the person who harmed you and when the state will release that person.
As your attorneys, it is our responsibility to keep you informed regarding your civil case. We will update you every step of the way and let you know our strategy when it comes to presenting your case in court. We will let you know our policy for updates (e.g., how often you can expect an update, how you will receive updates, etc.) so you never feel left in the dark.
You Have the Right to Receive Physical, Financial, and Emotional Help.
As a crime victim, you have the right to take advantage of any services the state offers. This might include:
- Victim’s compensation from the Bureau of Victim Compensation
- Victim’s advocacy
- Police protection
You Have the Right to Help Hold the Criminal Accountable in a Court of Law.
In many criminal and civil cases, you have the right to be included in the proceedings and express your views, particularly in civil court. While criminal court focuses more on apprehending the perpetrator (but will take your wishes into account), civil court focuses on you, the victim. You may generally testify to the following matters:
- Your relationship with the defendant(s), if there was one
- The incident itself and the moments leading up to it
- How the incident affected you physically, emotionally, and financially
You Have the Right to File for Damages and Hold the Criminal Accountable.
Some crime victims mistakenly believe that they can only recover restitution in criminal court. You also have a couple other options for recovering damages. In some cases, you may receive compensation from the Bureau of Victim Compensation.
You may file a lawsuit against your attacker and other liable parties for compensation. Civil courts allow the victim to take center stage and solely focus on the amount of damages a victim should receive. Remember that civil cases are completely separate from criminal cases and that you can recover damages in civil court even if the criminal court finds your assailant not guilty.
How Can I Exercise My Right to File Suit?
Our attorneys represent crime victims in court to help them collect compensation for a variety of crimes. Whom we file against depends on who contributed to the crime. In almost every case, we will file against the person who committed the crime.
We might also file a premises liability claim against any property owners or business owners whose negligence partially or fully caused the incident to occur. For example, if an assault and battery occurs in a dimly lit parking garage with no security, the property owner may be liable for failing to provide adequate security.
Once we have determined who to sue, we will start building your case by collecting evidence and preparing witnesses. The most successful cases have an abundance of evidence supporting their claims including:
- Police reports, witness testimony, and photos/surveillance video documenting the incident
- Victim testimony describing the events
- Medical records documenting injuries, surgeries, and rehabilitation
- Pay stubs and employment records documenting lost wages for time you spent recovering
- Expert testimony regarding injury causation and how the crime physically and mentally affects victims
Crime victims have a long road of recovery ahead of them. The least we can do is make that road a little easier. At Edwards Pottinger LLC, we are committed to fighting for justice on behalf of innocent crime victims and their families. Our firm can help you recover compensation and get justice for homicide, sexual assault and molestation, assault and battery, and other horrific crimes.
To discuss the specifics of your claim, call us at 954-524-2820.