Victims’ Rights Attorneys
Fighting to Recover Compensation for Survivors of Violent Crimes and Victims of Civil Rights Violations
Many people do not realize that criminal liability is not the only source of justice for survivors of violent crimes and victims of civil rights violations. Survivors and victims often have the right to take civil legal action against perpetrators independent of any criminal prosecution.
Our compassionate team at Potts Law Firm is ready to help you explore your legal options when you have suffered the consequences of heinous, unlawful acts. Our victims’ rights lawyers have recovered over $1 billion for our clients and are prepared to take on cases involving sexual assault, premises liability, dram shop laws, civil rights, human trafficking, and more. Our goal is to get you justice and the money you need to move forward with your life.
If you need help understanding your rights after a violent crime or civil rights violation, schedule a free initial consultation by contacting us online or calling (888) 420-1299. Our firm offers same-day appointments and provides services in English and Spanish.
Can I File a Lawsuit If I Am a Victim of a Crime?
In many cases, you can file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator of a crime committed against you. These lawsuits are often pursued against violent criminals whose wrongdoing results in calculable and incalculable forms of harm. For example, a sexual assault victim might sue their assailant and seek compensation for medical bills, emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and other losses. Statutes of limitations typically apply, however, and will vary by state. You may be unable to pursue civil legal action if you wait too long, so you should discuss your legal options with our victims’ rights lawyers as soon as you can to avoid missing a deadline.
Additional parties other than the crime’s perpetrator may be liable for damages in some cases. When criminal incidents occur at or near third-party entities, such as hotels, apartment complexes, or restaurants, these venues may be civilly liable for their failure to provide adequate security, follow proper protocols, or perform a duty owed to the victim that would have mitigated or prevented the criminal act. Furthermore, when certain crimes, such as sexual assault, occur in private homes, the homeowner and/or homeowner’s insurance may be liable for these acts. After reviewing your specific circumstances, we can advise who may be liable in your case.
If a violent crime results in death, the victim’s family may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the perpetrator. The deadline for taking civil legal action in these cases is generally tied to the day the victim passed, not the day of the crime.
What Is the Difference Between Civil Damages and Victim Restitution?
The objective of a criminal trial is to establish whether the defendant is guilty and, if so, confer the appropriate punishment. Though they will likely be called to serve as a witness, the victim is otherwise not directly tied to criminal proceedings and does not get to make decisions about how the case is handled. For example, the prosecution will have the final say over whether to accept a plea bargain, even if the victim objects.
If the prosecution does obtain a guilty verdict, the victim will submit bills for their crime-related expenses. The prosecution then presents these amounts to the judge, who will decide how much restitution – or compensation – to award to the victim as part of the defendant’s sentencing.
In a civil case, the victim has control over how the matter proceeds and whether any offered settlement should be accepted. The objective here is to exclusively secure compensation to make the victim (or their family) whole.
Through civil legal action, a violent crime victim can recover damages for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
You should not assume you will get restitution even if criminal charges are filed. A conviction is not guaranteed, and any restitution awarded will not cover pain and suffering or punitive damages. If you need comprehensive compensation to cover out-of-pocket expenses and other losses, you should discuss your options with our experienced victims’ rights lawyers.
What Is the Burden of Proof in a Civil Crime Victim Case?
As mentioned previously, the burden of proof in a civil crime victim case is significantly lower than that of a criminal trial. You must provide clear and convincing evidence that demonstrates the defendant more likely than not committed the crime. You do not have to prove the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which can make winning civil cases easier than establishing guilt in a criminal court.
We typically take civil crime victim cases and civil rights matters on a contingency basis, so you owe us nothing unless we win. Call (888) 420-1299 or contact us online to learn more.
I had a wonderful experience with this law firm.- Stephen P.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him or any of the team at Potts.- Theo C.
The Potts Law Firm is a powerhouse of brilliant attorneys.- Molly H.
I would recommend Potts Law Firm for any and all legal matters that come my way in the future!- W. Gary
Great law firm!- Hugo G.
A civil lawsuit operates completely independently from any criminal prosecution. Therefore, you do not need a criminal conviction to win a civil lawsuit. In fact, you may be able to sue a perpetrator of a violent crime even if they are not formally charged.
You may be able to prevail in a civil lawsuit even if the defendant is acquitted in a criminal court. This outcome is the result of the different standards of proof that apply to criminal and civil cases. In a criminal case, the defendant must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. A civil case only generally requires you to prove the defendant more likely than not committed the violent crime. Thus, criminal prosecutors may not be able to meet the high standard of proof required in a criminal case, but victims’ rights attorneys could have sufficient evidence to persuade a jury that the allegations are more likely to be true than not true.
Transvaginal Mesh Settlements Over $1 Billion
The Potts Law Firm and its joint venture partners have been successful in resolving over $1 billion in transvaginal mesh settlements. Derek H. Potts was one of a handful of plaintiffs’ lawyers from around the country who spearheaded the establishment of what would become the largest medical device MDL consolidations in history.
Kugel Mesh Hernia Patch $184 Million
Derek H. Potts was a member of the Kugel Mesh MDL Plaintiffs Steering Committee which was instrumental in obtaining a $184,000,000 global settlement for several thousand persons who had received the Kugel Mesh hernia patch.
ERISA Class Action Settlement $36 Million
Potts Law Firm served as class counsel in the ERISA class action, Diebold, et al. v. Northern Trust Investments, N.A. et al., 09-Civ-1934 (Diebold), in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois where the Court approved a collective settlement of $36 million dollars for class representatives resulting in millions of dollars returned to investors.
Paraplegic Minor $12 Million
Derek H. Potts and Timothy L. Sifers obtained a $12,100,000 verdict against Lisa Gard, M.D. for medical malpractice involving a minor. The jury found the Salina emergency room doctor to be negligent in her assessment of the minor upon presentation in the emergency room, failing to timely diagnose a rare spinal condition. The case was one of the largest verdicts in history in the State of Kansas.
Fraud Against Lender $10.7 Million
Potts Law Firm represented a United States Bankruptcy Trustee. The case stemmed from the massive bankruptcy of Royce Homes, one of the largest homebuilders in the country. Micah and Chris represented the bankruptcy Trustee against a multitude of defendants, including the chief Lender, for claims related to the homebuilder’s downfall and the fraudulent transfer of assets from the rightful owners, the creditors.
Birth Injury $4.6 Million
Derek H. Potts and Samuel Cullan were members of the plaintiff's trial team which obtained a $4,600,000 verdict for a minor delivered at Bethany Medical Center. Ariana Wilburn, the minor, suffered a spinal cord presentation after being born in the breech position.
Hypoxic-Ischemic Birth Injury $3.5 Million
Potts Law Firm secured a $3,500,000 settlement for a single mother whose infant suffered severe brain damage while being delivered in a New Mexico hospital. The mother, having no previous pregnancy or medical issues, began laboring and immediately went to a hospital. Despite the clear signs of fetal distress and hypoxia (lack of oxygen), the doctor and nurse did not order an emergency cesarean section.
Fraudulent Transfers $2.42 Million
Potts Law Firm represented a Bankruptcy Trustee, resulting in a combined $2.42 million being recovered for creditors of ATP Oil & Gas Company. The claims related to fraudulent transfers of overriding royalty interests in oil & gas properties made by ATP in a failed attempt to liquidate the assets of the company.
Catastrophic Injuries $3.5 Million
Derek H. Potts was co-lead counsel with Thomas Cartmell in representing John Novogradac of Kansas City whose health was neglected during his stay at two nursing home facilities. Mr. Novogradac developed bedsores on his body and had above-knee amputations on both legs after his wounds became severely infected with gangrenous and dead tissue.
Pharmaceutical Birth Defect $1.05 Million
Potts Law Firm secured a $1,050,000 settlement for a mother whose infant suffered birth defects from a pharmaceutical drug that was taken during pregnancy. Though the migraine drug manufacturer knew the medication could cause a fetus to develop a cleft lip and/or cleft palate when consumed by the mother during the early stages of pregnancy, they failed to warn consumers about these dangers.