If you were the victim of crime, you will generally have the right to recover damages from the person who hurt you. If your neighbor beat you up and sent you to the hospital, the neighbor is probably guilty of the crime of assault and battery, and you are probably entitled to recover damages. If you press criminal charges, the judge may order that your medical bills get paid by the criminal, though if he is going to jail, it may be hard to see how that happens any time soon. And the judge generally won’t award damages for lost income, and will not award damages for pain and suffering. We sometimes get called by a victim of crime who says, “The guy who beat me up got 10 days in jail, and I have a lifetime of pain in front of me. Help!!” We have, and we can.
The other common way that we help someone who has been a victim of crime is when we represent people who have been hurt by drunk drivers. We have been representing victims of drunk drivers for many years. Thirty years ago, Lloyd Snook represented the family of a young woman who was killed by a drunk driver. In working on that case (we negotiated a reasonable settlement), we learned about the drunk driver’s past record. We learned about how he had been drinking all day, and how he had been driving dangerously for miles before he crossed the center line and hit another car head on at 55 mph (perhaps more). The mother of the young woman chaired a local task force to work on closing some of the loopholes that this investigation revealed, and Lloyd Snook served on that task force. Even before Mothers Against Drunk Driving got started in Virginia, we were not only bringing these cases, but working in the community to allow the legal system to deal more effectively with the problem of drunk driving.
If you have been the victim of crime, and you want to make sure that your rights are protected, call us at 434-293-8185.