When Criminals Sue Their Victims

Statistically speaking, a significant percentage of the population will at some point or another be the victim of some kind of crime. Some will be defrauded, others will be mugged, still others burgled of their possessions while they are away from home. These cases are almost always handled by the criminal courts; while it is permissable, it wouldn’t make much sense to sue a burglar, since all he or she likely has is… Your stuff.

States Taking a Stand

Some victims of crime are astonished to learn that they may be sued for injuries sustained by the perpetrator while in the commission of said crime. In Arizona, the voters will soon get to decide whether or not such lawsuits will ever again be permitted. SCR 1020 passed through the House by a 40-19 margin. The question is how frequently this scenario actually gets played out in courtrooms, in Arizona or anyplace else in America.

You May File When Ready

Generally speaking, the law allows a person to use reasonable force in dealing with other people, with the definition of “reasonable” being dependent upon the circumstances involved. If a person uses force that the courts determine to be beyond reasonable, there could be a liability issue. The problem is that there aren’t many tremendous obstacles to filing a suit. Winning, though, is another matter entirely.

Judges are not often fooled by cases without merit, even in civil court, where the burden of proof is not nearly as high as it is in criminal trials. Juries, too, are not likely to have much sympathy for a guy who got hurt while crashing a stolen car. Even so, the effects of a civil suit being filed by someone who has already harmed you in some way can be traumatic and emotionally stressful for victims who never asked to participate in this macabre legal dance.