assault

Victims of Assault Can Fight Back With Civil Lawsuits

It seems like every couple of weeks a new wealthy celebrity is caught assaulting someone. Last month NFL Running back Mark Walton was arrested for getting into a scuffle with a woman in Miami Florida. In January 2019 NFL Linebacker Trevor Bates punched a cop in the face and refused to pay for a $32.00 cab fare. In November 2018, NFL Running back Reuben Foster was arrested for pushing and slapping a woman in Tampa Florida. In July 2018 NFL Defensive Tackle Vernon Butler was cited for pushing a woman and throwing a drink in her face in Dallas Texas. That same month, NFL Tight End Ricky Seals Jones was arrested for pushing a hotel staffer so he could use the bathroom. These assaults and arrest are so prevalent there is actually a website dedicated to tracking NFL arrests.

NFL players are not alone. San Francisco Giants’ CEO Larry Baer recently brazenly assaulted his wife in public while on video. Comedian Katt Williams recently punched a Portland chauffeur for refusing to allow William’s dog to ride in the front seat. These assaults seem to be getting more and more prevalent in our society. Most victims of assault rely solely on the criminal justice system to punish the offenders. However, assault victims can fight back with a Civil Lawsuit.




Civil Lawsuits allow the victim to take the power back and be compensated for the hell the assailant put them through. Civil lawsuits also punish the assailant by forcing the assailant to pay punitive damages. The civil justice system is a very powerful tool to use against wealthy powerful people, such as professional athletes, celebrities, and wealthy individuals. This is due to the fact that most of these assailants have the financial resources to hire people to keep them out of jail and keep their jobs. In a sense they are “above the law” because they do not suffer real consequences for their actions. A small court fine and misdemeanor probation with no jail time is a common sentence for these individuals even if they have a history or pattern of assaults. That is not likely to change their abusive behavior.

On the other hand, if the assailant is forced to pay the victim a substantial amount of money then they will likely learn from their mistake. The assailant will also have to explain why they assaulted the defendant. In Oregon, in most cases defendants in a civil lawsuit can be deposed and can be forced to explain their actions. This can help the victim’s healing process and provide closure.

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Here at Ross Law we strongly believe in holding assailants accountable. We have used the legal process to force assailants to pay victims of assault, sexual assault, and domestic violence significant amounts of money. We have also helped victims receive closure by using the civil justice systems to get answers from the assailants regarding why they did what they did.

If you or someone you know is a victim of assault, domestic violence, or sexual assault call Ross Law PDX for your free case evaluation. Call Portland Personal Injury Attorney Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658 to discuss your case and your options. Please note that every case is different and results may vary. Ross Law PDX cannot represent victims in every case, and there are various factors that may play into whether or not a civil lawsuit can be used to hold a perpetrator accountable. Click (HERE) for more information regarding the differences between a civil court and criminal court.

5 Things Oregon Crime Victims and Survivors Should Know About Their Remedies

Yesterday, a Kentucky Jury awarded U.S. Senator Rand Paul $580,000.00 in damages that were a result of injuries and mental anguish he suffered when a neighbor tackled the senator. The neighbor was angry at Rand Paul and attacked him. The neighbor’s attack broke six of Rand Paul’s ribs and bruised his lungs lungs. Prior to Rand Paul’s Civil Suit, the attacking neighbor was prosecuted in Criminal Court and entered a plea of guilty. After the attacker had entered a plea of guilty Senator Paul pursued his civil remedies against the attacker, and the Jury sided with Paul in awarding him damages for medical expenses, mental anguish, pain, suffering, and damages to punish the defendant. This case is unusual due to the fact that the victim was a U.S. Senator, but the facts are not unusual. Here in Oregon, Ross Law PDX has represented survivors and victims in Civil Cases involving sexual abuse, domestic violence, violent attacks that occurred at school, assaults by neighbors, assaults by police officers, and assaults at bars. In most of these cases the survivors of abuse were unaware of the power of the civil justice system and what they could achieve. Oregon Crime Victims and Survivors should know the following:

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1) The District Attorney is Not Solely The Victim’s Lawyer: The district attorney prosecutes the suspect criminally. Essentially, it is the district attorney’s job to ensure the suspect is held accountable in criminal court and is punished by either being sent to prison, jail, or put on probation. The district attorney represents all Oregonians, and not just the victim. As a result, the focus of the district attorney may not always be in line with the victim’s wishes.   

2) The Victim Can Have an Attorney Represent them in the Criminal Case and Civil Case: An attorney acting on the victim’s behalf is only representing the victim. In the Criminal Case the victim’s attorney can ensure that the victim’s rights are honored, even if that means disagreeing with the District Attorney’s position. In the civil case the victim’s attorney can pursue claims for monetary damages and other remedies. The main difference is that a civil attorney can file a lawsuit against not only the criminal suspect but other corporations or organizations that may be responsible for the suspect. For example, if a security guard rapes a person while on duty. The district attorney would prosecute the security guard and would have a difficult time prosecuting the security guard’s employer. However, a civil attorney may hold the security guard and the guard’s employer accountable. Additionally, civil attorneys seek compensation for the victim and are unable to send a person to jail or prison for what they have done.

3) Victim’s Can Typically Only Recover Out of Pocket Losses Through the Criminal Case: In Oregon, criminal restitution is typically limited to only economic losses that the defendant caused as a result of his criminal conduct. What this means is that in most cases the Criminal Court cannot order a criminal defendant to pay for damages for mental anguish, fear, anxiety, frustration, sleeplessness, embarrassment, pain, suffering, or other non-economic losses. In order to collect those damages the Victim or Survivor must file a Civil Case. The Rand Paul case is illustrative of why this is such a powerful remedy. In the Paul case, the Jury awarded $7,834.82 in economic losses and $200,000 for pain and suffering. If Paul did not exercise his right to pursue the case in Civil Court he may have been limited to only collecting $7,834.82 from the criminal defendant.

4) In a Civil Case Crime Victims and Survivors Can be Awarded Punitive Damages: Oregon Law permits persons that are victims of certain crimes to be awarded punitive damages in Civil Cases. In many cases, Oregon Law allows person to collect money from people that recklessly endanger and injure a person. ORS 31.730   These damages are awarded to the injured person to punish the offender, and can make a significant difference in the amount of money the crime victim or survivor receives. For instance, the Jury awarded Senator Rand Paul $375,000 in punitive damages. These damages were to punish the attacking neighbor for assaulting Rand Paul. There is not a fixed amount for punitive damages, and the additional amount will vary depending on the injuries, the reckless conduct, and the “record as a whole.” ORS 31.730   

5) A Crime Victim or Survivor Can Use a Pseudonym to Protect Their Identity in Civil Court: Most crime victims and survivors do not want their identity revealed in court filings. Most Courts will permit the victim or survivor to take steps to protect their identity by proceeding under a pseudonym. In these cases the court may permit the survivor to use a pseudonym of initials such as J.D.

If you or someone you know have been injured by a criminal defendant please contact Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658 to discuss your options and remedies. Ross Law PDX has successfully fought for Crime Victims throughout the State of Oregon. Ross Law PDX is also happy to provide a free case consultation to anyone that was intentionally injured by another. Please note that results vary and many settlements in Crime Victims cases, and not all cases can be pursued. Please do not solely rely on this post and contact a crime victim attorney to discuss your rights and options.

It should be noted Senator Paul’s case is unusual due to the fact that Senator Rand Paul supports “tort reform” to limit a person’s access to civil justice and put caps on amounts awarded by a jury. Hopefully, he will learn from this experience and reject any future attempts to limit the amount of damages that can be awarded by a Jury in a civil case.

Portland Uber Driver Assaults Female Passenger

As previously noted, I have grave concerns about ride-share drivers not being properly vetted by Uber or Lyft. Over the past few years numerous people throughout the United States have been assaulted or sexually assaulted by a ride-share driver. It was not a matter of if this was going to occur in Portland, but it was a matter of when. Unfortunately, it did happen last week. Last week an Uber driver climbed in the back seat of his vehicle and then began to kiss and thrust his body against the lone female passenger. Thankfully the passenger was able to fight off the driver and push him off of her. This terrifying encounter should not have happened.

This type of encounter can be prevented with proper background investigations, training, and supervision of drivers. However, the ride-share industry pushes back on these requirements. They claim to perform back-ground checks, but the nature and extent of them is not entirely known. As a result, litigation often will arise out of these incidents in an effort to hold the ride-share companies accountable in hopes that they will be forced to use a more robust system to protect riders.

If you or someone you know has been assaulted, sexually assaulted, or raped by a ride-share driver (Uber or Lyft) please call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658 for your free case evaluation. Jeremiah Ross proudly represents crime victims and fights to hold all persons and entities accountable, and providing compensation to the victim.

Uber Fined for Allowing Felons and Disqualified Drivers to Drive Passengers

Uber has proven it is a convenient and reliable source of transportation.  However, safety has always been a concern.  Many Uber drivers are involved in traffic crashes because they are distracted by the passengers or their mobile device they rely on to drive for Uber.  Uber has also hired many drivers that have criminal histories that are a cause for concern. [Click here for the previous article] Last week Colorado fined Uber $8,900,000.00 for violating driver qualification laws.[Click here to read article].

The fines are a result of Uber hiring 57 drivers with criminal convictions that should have disqualified them from working.  Some of the questionable drivers had felony convictions that should have disqualified them.  Hiring drivers with felony convictions or other disqualifying theft related or assault convictions puts passengers at risk.  It also violated Colorado's laws, resulting in the fines.   

Mr. Clown says, "Trust me!  I passed the background check."

Mr. Clown says, "Trust me!  I passed the background check."

Although the State of Oregon has yet to audit Uber.  Uber drivers have done some terrifying things here  here in Oregon.  There are instances of Uber drivers being involved in road rage, stalking, and assault in Oregon.  Allowing a convicted felon to act as an Uber driver may increase the likelihood that driver will be involved in illegal activity.  If a driver is involved in unlawful activity Uber should be held accountable for all of the victim's losses.

If you, or someone you know, are involved in an incident with an Uber or other rideshare driver please call Portland Oregon Attorney, Jeremiah Ross for your free case evaluation.  Call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658 to discuss how the Uber driver and Uber can be held accountable.  Please remember this post is for advertising purposes.   Also, this post does not create an attorney client relationship.

What is the Difference Between a Civil Case and a Criminal Case?-15 Things Oregon Crime Victims Should Know

As a former prosecutor I rejected or "no complainted" various criminal cases.   Many of these cases lacked evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect had committed a a crime.   Sometimes these were big cases that involved sexual assault, rape, assault, battery, or wrongful death caused by a negligent or DUII driver.   Those cases were always difficult to reject, because there was a victim that had been harmed, but there just wasn't enough evidence to support pursuing a conviction.   That meant that the wrongdoer would never be punished for the harm that they caused.  However, many of those cases would have been great Civil Cases.  That means the injured person or their estate could have received compensation (money) for the harms that the wrongdoer inflicted, even if the wrongdoer was never charged with a crime. 

 

Civil cases are much different than criminal cases. It is very important for a person that has been the victim of a crime to understand the difference between the two, so they can know all of their legal rights. Below are some of the main differences between Civil Law and Criminal Law in Oregon: 

  1. What is The Main Difference Between a Civil Case and a Criminal Case In Oregon? Civil cases are about holding the wrongdoer(s) accountable by compensating the victim.  Basically the wrongdoer(s) are ordered to pay the victim for the harms and losses they caused the victim.  In Criminal Cases the case is about holding the wrongdoer accountable by punishing the wrongdoer.  Basically the wrongdoer goes to jail, is on probation, or is put in prison.  In a Civil Case the focus is on the harms and losses the wrongdoer caused the victim.  In a Criminal Case the focus is on the acts the defendant committed that violated the law. 
  2. Is There A Civil Case If The Person Is Being Charged With A Crime?  In a civil case an injured person files a lawsuit against the person(s) or entities (government organizations or corporations) that caused the harm.  Being charged with a crime does not trigger a civil lawsuit.   In a Criminal Case the DA files documents to attempt to convict the wrong doer of a crime.  That does not trigger a civil lawsuit.  To Trigger a Civil lawsuit a person, usually a civil lawyer, files a complaint on behalf of the victim who is called the Plaintiff.
  3. Is The DA My Lawyer If I Was A Crime Victim?  In a Civil Case the injured person has their own lawyer that represents only the injured person(s).  In a criminal case the State of Oregon has a "prosecutor" (sometimes called a DA) that represents the State.  The Prosecutor may take the victim's wishes into account regarding plea bargains and other issues, but at the end of the day the Prosecutor does not represent the victim.  In a civil case the civil lawyer only looks out for the crime victim's interest.
  4. Who Is the Victim's Advocate in a Criminal Case?  In Oregon the Victim's Witness Advocate is an employee of the District Attorney's office.  They do a great job of attempting to keep victims informed of what is going on in the Criminal Case, and trying to create a dialogue between the victim and the prosecutor handling the case.  Victim Witness Advocates often will advise victims of criminal court dates (bail hearings, trial dates, sentencing dates), and will often inform the victim of their rights in the criminal proceedings.  However, this does not always happen with every case.  
  5. Do I Get A Victim's Advocate in a Civil Case?  Yes.  In a civil case your lawyer is your advocate.   There is not an employee of the government that will advocate on your behalf.  You will have a lawyer that is pursuing your case for you and asserting your rights. 
  6. Can I Get A Civil Lawyer To Be My Victim's Advocate In A Criminal Case?  Yes, as the victim of a crime you have a right to have a civil lawyer as your representative.   This is strongly encouraged to ensure the victim's rights are honored.   However, 
  7. The DA "No Complainted" My Case, Will A Civil Lawyer Take The Case?  It depends, it maybe that there is not enough evidence to hold the wrong doer(s) accountable in a civil case.  It may also be that none of the wrongdoers has any money, so it would not be worth pursuing a lawsuit because at the end of the day no one would receive any compensation.  It is best to call a lawyer like myself at 503.224.1658 to discuss your civil case.
  8. The DA Said There Wasn't Enough Evidence To Prove My Criminal Case, So How Would We Win a Civil Case?  One of the main differences between a civil case and a criminal case is the burden of proof.  In a criminal case the state must prove the wrongdoer committed a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.  That is the highest standard of proof.  In a civil case the standard is typically much lower.   To win your civil case you only have to prove your allegations by a preponderance of the evidence.   What this means is that you only have to show that more likely than not a person or entity caused your harm.  This is much easier, and you don't need the same amount of evidence to prove the case. 
  9. Can I Collect Money From The Criminal Defendant To Compensate Me For My Harm?  It Depends.  First, most DA's will only pursue out of pocket losses (think property damage, hospital bills, therapy bills) once their is a conviction.  What this means is that a crime victim typically cannot receive money for the hell the event has caused them (think: pain, anxiety, embarrassment, shame, humiliation, and interference with daily activities).  In a civil case you can be awarded money for all the hell the person put you through.   In limited circumstances the DA may be able to get an award of a "compensatory fine" that allows the victim to collect money for non-out of pocket losses.  However this is rarely done.  You should speak to a Civil Crime Victim's lawyer, such as myself, if you are interested in pursuing this.  Call 503.224.1658.
  10. Can I Have A Civil Case While the DA Is Prosecuting the Criminal Case, Or Do I have to Wait?   A crime victim in Oregon can have a civil case and a criminal case in the court at the same time.  However, that doesn't mean the cases will be on the same track.  Lawyers would be different, dates and hearings would be different, and judges may be different in the civil and criminal case.   There are numerous strategies that people consider regarding when to file a civil case, so you should consult with a Civil Crime Victim's lawyer. 
  11. Can A Civil Lawyer Get a Settlement With the Person Being Charged with a Crime Before Filing a Lawsuit?  Yes!  It is often very helpful to have a civil lawyer  representing the crime victim, so the Civil Lawyer can attempt to resolve the case before filing a Civil Lawsuit.  Sometimes this can occur while the DA is still prosecuting the wrongdoer in the criminal case.  
  12. I Believe A Corporation or Government Entity Caused Some of My Harm, Can I File A Civil Lawsuit Against Them Even if an Actual Person Committed the Crime?  Yes, if the evidence merits it.  This happens all of the time.   As a Civil Crime Victim's Lawyer I have filed a lawsuit against multiple corporations and a rapist in the same lawsuit.   We sued the corporations because they negligently hired the rapist and my client was raped while he was on the clock.   This scenario can come up with teachers sexually assaulting or molesting children, DHS failing to protect children, Hospitals allowing physicians to work after receiving complaints the physician had sexually assaulted a person, a bar that hired a bouncer that beat a person senseless, and a bar or social host that over-served a DUII Driver that caused a crash.   These are just a few of the countless examples.  
  13.  Can I File A Civil Lawsuit After The Wrongdoer Is Convicted of A Crime?  Yes!  In fact most of the time that is when most civil lawsuits are filed against the wrong doer.  Just because a person is convicted doesn't mean you can't still pursue a civil lawsuit against them to seek money to compensate you for the hell they put you through. 
  14. The DA Said The Statute Of Limitations  Ran on The Case, Can I Still File A Civil Lawsuit?  It depends.  Sometimes the criminal statute of limitations for a misdemeanor in Oregon may be as short as a year.  Most Civil Personal Injury lawsuits must be filed in two years.   Therefore a Civil Lawyer may have an extra year to hold the wrong doer accountable.  Other statute of limitations involving sexual assault, molestation, sexual abuse are very complicated and a Civil Lawyer should be consulted with.
  15. If I Receive Money From The Oregon Crime Victim's Compensation Fund Can I File a Civil Case Against the Defendant(s)?  Yes.  Oregon has a fund that will pay medical bills and therapy bills for crime victims in some circumstances.  If a person receives benefits from the Crime Victim's Compensation Fund, and later collects money from the defendant in a civil lawsuit or settlement then the Fund must be repaid. 

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a crime and want to file a civil lawsuit call Oregon Crime Victim Lawyer Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658 for your free consultation.  Ross Law LLC is happy to assist crime victim.    Please note there are numerous differences between civil law and criminal law, and the law is constantly changing.