Civil Justice for Victims of Crime in Spokane
Filing a Civil Lawsuit Against a Perpetrator or Their Enablers
For victims of crime, speaking out against wrongdoers takes courage. Sweetser
Law Office is here to support courageous victim-survivors in their pursuit
of civil justice. Perpetrators in Spokane must have consequences beyond
prison time when they commit horrendous crimes.
What Is a Civil Lawsuit?
Regardless of the outcome of criminal prosecution, or even if there was
no criminal prosecution, victims can file a civil suit against the offender
as well as the organization or institution that enabled them.
A civil lawsuit is a private lawsuit initiated by the victim and is separate
from a criminal trial. It is the only means by which the crime victim
receives financial compensation for the trauma and emotional distress,
lost income, medical bills, counseling, psychiatric expenses, and other
expenses caused by sexual abuse or serious
Civil Cases Help Victims Find Restitution
Civil litigation, while imperfect, can also be an empowering and effective means by which
victims of crime have an opportunity to confront their wrongdoer, be heard,
and obtain some recognition of the harm they have suffered through financial
While money can never wholly compensate someone for the loss of a loved
one or the trauma of victimization, it can provide relief to a victim
in knowing there was some form of accountability. Financial compensation
can help crime victims rebuild their lives by creating opportunities to
improve living environments, obtain assistance in childcare or schooling,
or receive professional counseling that will decrease stress and allow
the survivor to focus on personal recovery.
Former elected Spokane County Prosecutor James R. Sweetser
represents clients who have suffered injuries as the result of assault, battery, sexual abuse,
and other intentional acts. Call (509) 219-0020.
Civil Lawsuits Can Hold the Enabler Responsible
If an authority figure, an organization, or an institution aided and enabled
a crime, they can also be held liable in a civil lawsuit. This exposure
to civil liability is a powerful incentive for government administrators,
businessmen, landlords, and other proprietors to enact security measures
necessary to prevent future victimizations. Battery, assault, and sexual
abuse claims may include other grounds for liability such as vicarious
liability (e.g. an institutional defendant is responsible for the misconduct
of its employees); negligence (e.g. where an institution failed to monitor
a staff member who abused a child); and breach of fiduciary duty (e.g.
where a parent or teacher has failed to protect the child or breached
their position of trust)
Our Spokane civil litigation lawyer helps clients with assault cases, including:
- Assaults at work or nightclubs
- Childhood sexual abuse
- Domestic violence
- Firearm crimes
- Inadequate security or lighting
- Non-consensual sexual contact or assault
- Vehicular assault and homicide
You and your family do not have to wait for a criminal prosecution and
do not have to remain silent. You have the right to hold your offender
financially accountable for all the harm they have caused. In some circumstances,
the civil justice system might be the only means of accountability or
Victims of violent crime may also qualify for the
Washington State Crime Victim Compensation Program, which is run by Washington State's Department of Labor and Industries,
and temporarily helps victims with certain expenses such as lost wages,
emergency medical care, or counseling. Sweetser Law Office can help determine
whether you are eligible for the program.