Many victims of crime believe that their only way to obtain justice for a wrong done against them is through the criminal justice process. They often believe that once a person is placed on probation or sentenced to prison, they have no other avenues for which to seek justice.
This is not necessarily true.
Under Ohio and federal law, victims of crime can file a civil suit against the person who wronged them. In many cases, state law allows a victim of crime to recover compensatory damages, such as medical bills or lost income, as well as punitive damages, which are designed to punish the offender. In certain cases, the victim can also recover attorney's fees and court costs. Additionally, with some offenses (such as sex offenses), Ohio law has specific penalties that a person could be made to pay.
While collecting any judgment may be tricky, a skilled attorney will to look for the person's financial resources or assets. Additionally, if you obtain a judgment against someone and they later inherit or win money (even convicted felons have won the lottery), then you can use the judgment entry as a way to attach those funds.
Additionally, victims of crime may be entitled to funds and resources from the Ohio Attorney General's Office's Victims of Crime fund. The fund, which is paid for by the State of Ohio, provides financial assistance for certain expenses associated with their case. For example, the fund can pay for funeral expenses, medical and counseling bills, lost wages and clean-up costs.
As with most things, it is best to discuss the specifics of your situation with an skilled attorney. Attorney Adam VanHo, who is a former prosecutor and Assistant Attorney General, has represented both individuals and small businesses in filing suit against those who wronged them. If you would like to contact Attorney Adam VanHo, please call (330) 253-7171 or click here to fill out a questionnaire.