The victim of a crime relates the details to a police officer

Crime Victim Lawyers in Texas

When you’re the victim of a crime, you may endure injuries, emotional trauma, or other suffering as a result. The perpetrator may end up being charged with a felony or misdemeanor, but that won’t result in you getting compensation for your damages. The state will bring criminal charges against the perpetrator, but to gain the compensation you deserve, you should also file a claim in a civil court.

Crime victims often suffer from the most debilitating injuries and mental trauma. To make sure that the perpetrator faces the consequences of their actions in civil court as well as in criminal court, contact Hernandez Law Group. We’ll help you get through this emotionally trying time and get you the compensation that you deserve.

Who are Crime Victims?

A crime victim is someone who was the victim of another person’s illegal actions – usually felonies. Anyone who is injured or experiences mental anguish due to another person’s criminal actions is a crime victim who deserves compensation for their damages. Common crimes that lead to injury or other kinds of suffering include:

  • Aggravated robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual assault
  • Family violence
  • Criminally negligent homicide
  • Intoxication manslaughter
  • Aggravated assault
  • Negligent endangerment of a child
  • Arson

Crime Victims’ Compensation Program

Victims of violent crimes may be able to receive compensation from the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) under the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program. Crime victims may be entitled to partial or full compensation for the costs they incurred. Examples of costs that the program may compensate victims for include:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Funeral expenses
  • Costs of crime scene clean-up
  • The replacement of any property seized as a result of the criminal investigation
  • Home health care, the cost of making a car or home accessible, or anything else that’s necessary for victims who are totally and permanently disabled
Woman sitting in a living room of a new home

The TxDPS may pay these costs whether or not anyone is convicted of the crime. Unfortunately, victims will often not be able to receive the full compensation they deserve under the Crime Victims’ Compensation program.

Compensation for Texas Crime Victims Relocation Costs

In certain cases, a crime victim will need to be relocated for their safety. In these cases, the Crime Victims’ Compensation program will provide compensation for their relocation costs. The victims that may be eligible for compensation of relocation costs include victims of family violence, sexual assault (that occurs on their own property), human trafficking, or stalking. The relocation costs that crime victims may be entitled to include:

  • Monthly rent
  • Transportation costs
  • Moving vehicle rental costs
  • Costs of professional movers
  • Utility fees
  • Pet deposits
  • Up to 3 months of storage costs

The Crime Victims’ Compensation fund will pay for these costs (except for storage costs) for 3 years after the victim’s relocation.

Restitution for Crime Victims

When someone is convicted of a crime, the judge may order that restitution be paid to the victims of their criminal acts. Restitution payments can only be recovered when the offender is convicted of the crime. Furthermore, restitution will only cover certain costs, including:

  • Medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Compensation for lost or damaged property
  • Insurance deductibles
  • Costs of crime scene clean-up
  • The replacement of any property seized as a result of the criminal investigation
  • Counseling or therapy costs
  • Prescription costs
  • Travel costs, child care expenses, etc. related to participating in the criminal justice process

Restitution will not cover any costs that the Crime Victims’ Compensation program has already covered.

Recovering Damages for Crime Victims

Sometimes, the Crime Victims’ Compensation program and restitution won’t cover all of the damages a victim incurs. In fact, there are certain types of damages that a victim can never recover from the TxDPS or court-ordered restitution. This includes compensation for:

  • Mental anguish
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages

To help make sure that you receive the full compensation for your damages, contact Hernandez Law Group, P.C. We can help you apply for the Crime Victims’ Compensation program and also help you recover any damages not covered by this program or restitution.

Crime Victims’ Rights

Legal counsel presents to the client a signed contract with gavel and legal law

The Crime Victims’ Rights Act (18 U.S.C. § 3771) affords certain rights to all crime victims, including:

  1. The right to protection from the accused
  2. The right to accurate and timely notice of any public court proceeding or parole proceeding for the accused
  3. The right to be involved in and present testimony during any such court proceeding unless clear and convincing evidence exists that their testimony may be altered after hearing the testimonies of others
  4. The right to confer with the prosecutor of the case
  5. The right to receive full restitution in a timely manner
  6. The right to proceedings without any unreasonable delay
  7. The right to be treated with dignity, fairness, and respect
  8. The right to be informed of any plea bargain or deferred prosecution agreement in a timely manner

Further Rights for Crime Victims in Texas

The State of Texas offers additional rights to crime victims, including:

  1. The right to have their safety taken into consideration before any bail is set for the accused
  2. The right to be informed of any court decisions before they are made public
  3. The right to be informed of their ability to receive compensation under the Crime Victims’ Compensation program
  4. The right to have a waiting area before they testify that is separate from the waiting areas of other witnesses and the accused
  5. The right to have the prosecutor inform their employer of their need to be absent so that they can testify in court
  6. The right to victim-offender mediation

Rights of Victims of Sexual Assault or Abuse, Stalking, or Trafficking in Texas

As outlined in Article 56.021 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, the State of Texas offers additional rights specifically to victims of sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking. These include:

  1. The right to the disclosure of information and evidence relating to the case unless such disclosure would interfere with the investigation or prosecution of the crime
  2. The right to a forensic medical examination following the offense
  3. The right to be tested for AIDS, HIV, or other infections relating to the offense
  4. The right to counseling relating to the acquisition of AIDS or HIV
  5. The right to have the prosecutor file for a protection order on their behalf

Representation for Texas Crime Victims

If you were the victim of a crime, you deserve justice and compensation. Making sure that you get the full compensation you deserve is not the state or federal prosecutor’s job or priority. The attorneys at Hernandez Law Group are here to help you file for Crime Victims’ Compensation and get you the additional damages that this program does not cover. Your pain and suffering, mental anguish, and many other damages are not taken into account by the Crime Victims’ Compensation program or the judge who decides how much restitution you should get. At Hernandez Law Group, you and your loved ones are our top priority.

Juan Hernandez is certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization to practice personal injury law. This is a certification that only 2% of attorneys in Texas have acquired. If you want to make sure that you have the best representation for your case, contact us today. We offer free, no-obligation consultations, so don’t hesitate to give us a call.