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Atlanta Crime Victim Lawyers
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I called Matt after several people recommended him. He was very kind and did a very good job on my son’s case. We are very thankful for the work he did. Most importantly, he was never hard to reach and answered every question we had while going through the process. Matt is the only attorney I will ever call in the future.
My husband is a cyclist that did not fair well against an SUV recently. Matt and his team took phenomenal care of us, allowing us not to stress out (too much) about the little things. Matt and his team handled everything with professionalism. We know we made the right call.
So glad I hired this firm after my rearend car accident. Matt embodies the skill set and values I was looking for. He treats every case like a mini war, and was a zealous advocate on my behalf. And he did so in the most competent and skillful manner. He listened, was empathetic and understood my legal and nonlegal problems.
My 85-year old mom was in a motor vehicle accident with an uninsured motorist. His love, thoroughness and commitment to her case helped us through this accident and her cancer treatment. She underwent successful lobectomy and chemotherapy and is doing exceptionally well. We are immensely grateful.
It was important to me to get the maximum money I could for my broken neck and arm. After getting jerked around for months by State Farm, I interviewed several firms and chose Mr. Wetherington. I’m glad I did. He forced the insurance company to pay twenty times their last offer to me.
It is an honor to share my experience with Mr. Wetherington. He was able to get answers about what happened in my son’s wreck that other attorney’s were not able to do. I am so thankful for the work that he did and he was very thorough in his explanation of why the vehicle had a “defect.”
My case did not settle. The person that hit me only had minimal policy limits. Fortunately, I had my own insurance, which should have provided more money. My insurance company, Allstate, treated me like garbage. We had to sue them and go all the way to trial, which we won.
- Jane Doe
Matt Wetherington is the attorney who is suing the booting companies. We need to do everything we can as a community to help him succeed. God bless you, Mr. Wetherington!
The best! Great people and always friendly.
Fighting For Victims of Crime Across Atlanta, Georgia
Criminal actions are not just resolved in criminal courts. Regardless of whether a person has been charged with a crime, they may still be sued in civil court. Wetherington Law Firm represents victims of crimes in civil lawsuits to recover money from the person who committed the crime, along with all other people or entities that had a role in supporting or otherwise allowing the crime to happen.
What Types of Cases Do We Handle For Crime Victims?
We handle civil lawsuits for all crimes. However, most of our cases are for:
- Aggravated Assault: This crime typically occurs when someone assaults you with a deadly weapon like a gun or with the intent to commit a violent crime.
- Assault: A person tries to violently injure you or places you in fear of an immediate violent injury.
- Burglary: You can sue someone who breaks into your home or other dwelling with the intent of committing a crime inside. We usually sue in civil court under the tort of trespass.
- Domestic Violence: Abuse or violence between spouses, romantic partners, or household members is a serious problem in our state. Georgia law allows you to sue a family member who has hurt you.
- Drug Crimes: Drugs can cause serious injuries, including addiction and sometimes even death.
- Kidnapping: It is a crime to abduct someone and hold them against their will. The tort is usually false imprisonment.
- Murder/Homicide: You can bring a wrongful death lawsuit whenever someone intentionally kills your loved one.
- Manslaughter: Someone who kills a person intentionally while under an intense passion can face voluntary manslaughter charges. The victim’s family might also sustain a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Negligent Homicide: Unintentional deaths are often categorized as negligent homicide. You can also bring a wrongful death lawsuit for certain unintentional deaths when the defendant acted without reasonable care.
- Rape: It is a crime to sexually penetrate someone’s vagina, anus, or mouth without their consent. Victims can also sue their assailant for a battery.
- Date Rape: This is a type of rape between two people who have a dating relationship. Consent must be given freely each time a couple has sex, and any forcible sexual contact can qualify as a crime.
- Robbery: Most robberies involve stealing by force or intimidation. In civil court, a robber could face a lawsuit for battery or assault.
Because these are crimes, the state might file criminal charges against your assailant. However, you can also bring a civil action yourself against the defendant and possibly other parties for monetary compensation. Wetherington Law Firm, P.C., helps crime victims with these civil suits. They are an important part of the legal system because they force people and businesses to pay for the costs of your injuries.
Violent Crime is Surging in Georgia
The FBI collects violent crime statistics for the entire state. And what they have found is alarming—crime has surged in recent years. In fact, the numbers show that many more people are murdered, raped, and assaulted than they were only a few short years ago. In other words, the surge is recent, but the state does not know how to respond.
The most recent year with full statistics is 2020. However, the numbers are glaring. In 2020, there were:
- 618 murders
- 2,609 rapes
- 4,108 robberies
- 20,581 aggravated assaults
- 15,855 carjackings
- 33 acts of involuntary servitude
In all, there were 27,916 incidents of violent crime in the state of Georgia for 2020.
By contrast, the numbers for 2019 were much lower:
- 497 murders
- 2,297 rapes
- 5,760 robberies
- 18,061 aggravated assaults
- 17,305 carjackings
- 6 acts of involuntary servitude
The increase is staggering. Murder increased by over 24%. Rapes increased by almost 14%. And acts of involuntary servitude increased by over 500%! Only robberies and vehicle thefts declined, year over year, from 2019 to 2020.
What accounts for this staggering increase? One explanation could be the COVID pandemic, which took hold in 2020. With people feeling stressed, they turned to violent crimes, including murder and rape.
In a way, the pandemic might also explain why some categories of violent crime declined. Fewer people were driving, so there was less of a chance for auto theft. Also, fewer people were out and about, so robberies declined. But other categories of violent crime skyrocketed.
Crime Remains Uncomfortably High
Anyone could be the victim of a violent crime. The sad reality is that, although the COVID pandemic has abated, the crime wave has not. We don’t have FBI statistics yet for 2021 or 2022, but other data points are discouraging. For example, the level of violent crime in Atlanta was roughly the same for 2021 as it was for 2020. This means more crime that citizens must contend with:
Certain violent crimes in Atlanta for 2021 were down only 1% compared to 2020. These crimes include aggravated assault, burglary, auto theft, robbery, rape and homicide.
In 2021, Atlanta saw one additional murder compared to 2020. The number of murders for 2020 and 2021 were 68% higher than the number in the two previous years (2018 and 2019).
Rapes in Atlanta surged in 2021: an increase of almost 60%, year over year. Though the number in 2021 was higher than what we experienced pre-pandemic, Georgia’s reporting requirements might account for the difference. Those victimized by violent crime must consider how they can respond. A civil lawsuit is an important weapon we have in the fight against violent crime in Atlanta and throughout the state of Georgia.
What Damages Can You Recover After Being a Victim of Crime?
The main public policy purpose of tort law is compensation. Compensatory damages are money damages awarded to compensate the plaintiff and make the plaintiff whole. The system is not perfect. Life, limb, and freedom from pain cannot be restored. However, compensatory damages are a means of attempting to place the plaintiff in the same relative position that he or she was in before the loss by way of monetary compensation. Compensatory damages are categorized as either general damages or special damages.
Who Can You Sue For Compensation?
The most obvious target of a lawsuit is the person who attacked you. Violent crimes are also civil torts in Georgia, which means you can sue the perpetrator for damages. If you win your case, the assailant will have to pay you money. This type of lawsuit provides a measure of justice to victims of crime and defrays the expenses related to an attack.
Unfortunately, very few violent criminals have money sitting in a bank account. They also don’t have vacation properties or other assets you could get your hands on if you win. Consequently, you might prove they violently attacked you but have no way of collecting on your judgment.
Premises liability claims can play a part in these cases. For example, the place where you were attacked might have lacked adequate security. In Atlanta, a business must have sufficient security in place to reasonably protect business visitors. The amount of security will depend on several factors, such as the overall crime rate in the area and whether specific crimes have occurred on site. A business in Buckhead probably needs less security than one located in Lakewood Heights—but every business should have reasonable safety measures in place.
Common security features include armed guards, front desk clerks, security cameras, door buzzers, adequate light on footpaths, locked gates, and locks on doors and windows. Business staff must also take reasonable steps to remove anyone who is bothering guests or who is suspicious.
When inadequate security contributes to an attack, you can typically sue for negligent security. We can review whether to bring this claim on your behalf against a business, property management company, or private homeowner.
Victims of Crime Can Recover “General” Damages
General damages are “non-economic” losses, such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, or mental anguish, all of which have no specific, itemized value. The monetary value of general damages is determined by the jury, and jury verdicts are not consistent. A broken ankle in one courtroom could be worth $10,000 in pain and suffering. In another courtroom, it could be worth $100,000. Matt Wetherington tried a case in Fulton County that resulted in a $2.8 million verdict for a broken ankle. You can read about that case here. However, it is important to know that jury verdicts and settlements vary widely, even for the exact same injury. The variance is due to the individual plaintiff, the jurors at the trial, and the effectiveness of the injured person’s attorney.
Victims of Crime Can Recover “Special” Damages
Special damages are “economic” losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, or the cost of hiring household help, all of which do have a specific itemized value and can be more easily determined or calculated on a simple mathematical basis – once you have obtained the necessary records to prove that the expenses were incurred. It is important to note that only medical expenses “proximately caused” by the crime itself can be recovered. If you would like to learn more about how proximate cause is determined, click here. For simplicity sake, you should know that proximate cause is often highly contested.
Punitive Damages for Injuries Caused by Reckless or Intentional Conduct
In tort actions, there may be aggravating circumstances that may warrant the awarding or imposing of additional damages called punitive damages. Punitive damages, when authorized, are imposed not as compensation to a plaintiff but solely to punish, penalize, or deter a defendant. To recover punitive damages, the victim must prove that the defendant’s actions showed willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care that would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences.
The Spouse of an Injured Persons is Entitled to Recover Also
The spouse of an injured person is entitled to recover for something called a loss of consortium. Loss of consortium damages compensate for the loss of any services one spouse provides to another. Besides those sexual in nature, such services may consist of cooking, cleaning, household chores, household repairs, general companionship, and everything else that comes with a marriage.
If the Crime Results in a Death, Special Rules Apply
When a crime results in a death, the case turns into a wrongful death claim, instead of a personal injury claim. To learn more about wrongful death claims, click here.
The Wetherington Law Firm Has Recovered Millions for Clients
Our attorneys are highly skilled in personal injury law. In many cases, settlement is not possible until a judge rules that the proper defendants have been named, the claims asserted are valid, and there is enough evidence to proceed forward to a jury trial. By that point, it is too late to fix problems in the case. It is important that you start with an attorney that has the experience and resources necessary to put your case in the best position possible. Our attorneys have literally spent months in the court room presenting personal injury cases and obtaining record breaking verdicts. We also have attorneys that have spent years working for defense firms and know the traps that are set by corporations and their insurance companies.
How to Hire the Best Atlanta Crime Victim Attorney
Hiring a personal injury lawyer is one of the most important financial decisions you can ever make. There are a number of attorneys who hold themselves out as “experts” who have never tried a case or even settled a case involving catastrophic injuries. It is important that you ask any prospective attorney about his or her experience with personal injury lawsuits, specifically with regard to the injuries that you sustained.
If you are ready to hire an attorney, click here to complete our personal injury intake form. This is the fastest way to get started. If we accept your case, it will be on contingency. That means that you do not pay anything up front and only pay us if we win your case. If we do not accept your case, we will help you find a lawyer who can. We generally only accept cases involving significant injuries. However, we know many good attorneys and will make sure that you do not have to search around for someone to accept your case.