Victims of violent crimes must often deal with great trauma that reverberates long after the immediate danger is over. The criminal justice system seeks accountability from the perpetrators of those crimes, who are seen to have not just violated the victim’s rights but also the rules and laws of society. Meanwhile, the civil justice system is a forum where victims can seek compensation to help them in their journey to become whole again. Of course, our Spartanburg injury attorneys understand no amount of money takes away the pain and suffering. But it can help with the healing. It is also another means by which to hold a defendant accountable for his or her crimes.
This is the approach being taken by a Spartanburg woman who was recently discovered by authorities after having been held captive in a storage container on a 100-acre plot owned by her former boss for nearly three months. She and her boyfriend were allegedly kidnapped at gunpoint by her former boss, who then is accused of fatally shooting her boyfriend and then physically attacking her throughout the course of her captivity. The 30-year-old victim was reportedly kept in chains in the container. After she was discovered, her boyfriend’s body was found. The former boss is now accused of killing six others, including four in a previously unsolved 2003 killing at a motor sports shop and a husband and wife who went missing in 2015. He is in jail awaiting trial on numerous felony charges.
Meanwhile, the plaintiff has filed a civil lawsuit to recover damages from her former boss, who owns a business and several properties.
In her personal injury lawsuit, she alleges the defendant forcibly kidnapped, imprisoned, and attacked her, repeatedly committing numerous assaults and batteries upon her person. She alleges his “harmful and offensive acts” included, but were not limited to, striking her, placing her in chains, and causing her severe physical injuries and emotional distress. She is seeking damages for medical expenses (past, present, and future), as well as punitive damages and attorney fees and court costs.
It’s important to point out that while some judges in criminal cases will order restitution to the victims at the conclusion of the case, this is by no means a guarantee. That’s because the criminal justice system is less interested in restorative justice than in penalizing the defendant. This is why it’s a good idea for victims of criminal acts – particularly high-profile ones such as this – to seek legal counsel. Injury lawyers in these cases not only can help victims pursue the full extent of damages to which they are rightfully entitled, but also they can help victims in handling the sudden glare of the news media, which can be overwhelming for anyone and especially in the aftermath of a trauma.
In these cases, the question of fault is rarely at issue. Still, there are some challenges that may arise. First, victims of violent crimes may want to explore the pursuit of a claim against a property owner or manager, if this was someone other than the attacker. It is possible there could be a valid claim for negligent or inadequate security.
Beyond that, there may be some challenges in proving the extent of the damages. For example, how do you quantify the trauma of a sexual assault? We know that these cases involve not just immediate physical harm but also a long-term psychological impact, including a heightened risk of suicide, chronic depression, and drug abuse.
These cases often require expert testimony from mental health professionals and others, as well as evidence of hospital, psychiatric, and other bills.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
Updated: Kala Brown files lawsuit against Todd Kohlhepp, Dec. 5, 2016, By Kirk Brown, Independent Mail
More Blog Entries:
Anderson v. Hilton Hotels Corp. – Hotel Liability for Criminal Attack, Nov. 21, 2016, Spartanburg Personal Injury Lawyer Blog