Before any attorney can reasonably evaluate
your case and advise you about the possibility of recovering damages related to
a crime committed against you, they need a huge wealth of information. The more
information (and the RIGHT information!) you can provide, the faster you'll get
an answer and the better position your attorney will be in to represent you and
to come up with realistic expectations about what might happen and the
likelihood of recovery. Also, you'll likely be paying by the hour, and the more
hours of work you do yourself, the more money you'll save and the faster your
case can progress.
Facts about personal relationships, in particular, may affect the strength of the victim's civil case and may shed light on the probability of judgment collection. Specifically, the following types of data may serve as a start in gathering information relating to liability and collectability.
For example, if you're a victim of domestic violence, start out by writing down the facts surrounding the victimization. Within the specific context of potential civil remedies, the following questions should be addressed:
Did your partner physically abuse you? If the answer is yes, consider the activity as a possible assault and battery and make sure to note the severity and degree of your injuries.
Did the batterer ever encourage another person to physically abuse you? This might be a co-conspirator from whom you might collect a judgment.
How severe were your injuries? The more severe the injuries, the greater the likelihood that substantial damages might be awarded.
Did the batterer threaten you and/or the children? From a reasonable person's perspective, might the threats be considered outrageous? Were the threats made while the abuser was waving a gun or other weapon? If yes, the batterer might be found liable for intentional or reckless infliction of emotional distress.
You should also identify possible defenses which the batterer might raise. Is it possible that the batterer may claim that you provoked the physical abuse? How long ago did the crime occur? (This is important because you must file a case within the statute of limitations in your state or in the jurisdiction where the abuse occurred).
You might consider making a chart for your attorney: