Third-Party Crime Premises Liability: A Guide
In today’s evolving legal landscape, third-party crime premises liability has emerged as a central issue. Simply put, this refers to situations where a property owner is held accountable for crimes committed on their premises by a third party. This article dives deep into various facets of this topic, from legal rights of crime victims to the importance of hiring a personal injury attorney.
Legal Rights of Crime Victims
Over three decades ago, crime victims had limited legal rights to participate and be informed within the judicial system. Today, however, every state, the District of Columbia and several territories have extended basic rights and protections for victims of crime. For more information on how you can protect your rights as a victim of a crime, click here now.
Core Rights for Victims of Crime
Victims’ rights statutes have significantly influenced how victims are treated within the federal, state and local criminal justice systems. The fundamental rights for victims of crime include:
- Fair treatment: Victims have the right to be treated with fairness, dignity, sensitivity and respect.
- Presence at criminal justice proceedings: They have the right to attend and be present at criminal justice proceedings.
- Voice in the criminal justice process: This includes conferring with the prosecutor and submitting a victim impact statement at sentencing, parole and other similar proceedings.
- Right to information: This includes information about proceedings, events in the criminal justice process, available benefits and services, and access to records, referrals and other information.
- Protection from harassment: This right is aimed at safeguarding the victim from any form of intimidation and harassment.
- Restitution: Victims are entitled to restitution from the offender.
- Privacy rights: This encompasses the right to safeguard personal information.
- Compensation: Victims have the right to apply for crime victim compensation.
- Return of personal property: Speedy return of personal property seized as evidence is also a right.
- Right to speedy trial: This includes the right to enforcement of these rights and access to other available remedies.
Victims’ Rights Constitutional Amendments
Almost two-thirds of the states have adopted amendments to their state constitutions guaranteeing rights to victims of crimes. This strengthens victims’ rights and makes them more enforceable.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Given the complexity and time-sensitive nature of these cases, hiring a personal injury attorney is crucial. In many states, such as Texas, attorneys work on a contingency fee basis—meaning they get paid a percentage of the recovery amount. If no recovery is made, the client doesn’t have to pay anything.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for recovering from an injury or death resulting from negligence is just two years. Thus, it’s essential to act promptly and hire an attorney who can expedite the legal process.
Protecting Crime Victims
Many jurisdictions provide crime victims with protection during the legal proceedings. This can range from police escorts to secure waiting areas and witness protection programs.
Protection of Personal Information
Victims often have the right to protect the privacy of personal information contained in criminal justice documents, compensation records, and court testimony.
Many states have enacted laws that protect confidential communications generated in the course of a counseling relationship.
Address Confidentiality Programs
Several states have created address confidentiality programs to help victims of certain crimes keep their whereabouts private.
Right to Restitution
The term “restitution” generally refers to restoration of harm caused by the defendant—usually through payment for damages. It can also refer to the return or repair of property stolen or damaged during the crime.
Losses Covered by Restitution
Restitution can cover any out-of-pocket losses directly relating to the crime. This includes medical expenses, therapy costs, lost wages, and other related expenses.
Courts can order restitution to be paid immediately or set a payment plan. Failure to pay restitution can result in revocation of probation or parole.
Right to Return of Property
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws that outline procedures for the return of stolen or personal property seized for evidentiary purposes in subsequent criminal proceedings.
Right to A Speedy Trial
Many jurisdictions provide crime victims with the right to a speedy trial or disposition of the case free from unreasonable delay.
Right to Enforcement/Remedies of Victims
Since crime victims have been afforded legal rights in every state, they also need ways to ensure that those rights are enforced.
A jurisdiction may promote the enforcement of victims’ rights through court proceedings. Some jurisdictions have created a designated entity to receive, investigate, and attempt to resolve crime victim complaints.
Limitations on Enforcement
Despite these enforcement mechanisms, many victims’ bills of rights state that violation of a right does not create a civil cause of action against any government agency or official.
The legal landscape surrounding third-party crime premises liability is complex and constantly evolving. As a victim, it’s crucial to understand your rights and seek the help of a personal injury attorney to navigate the process. By doing so, you can ensure that your voice is heard and your rights are protected.