While Florida residents often hear about the rights afforded to people accused of a crime, they may not be aware that victims of crimes have certain inviolable rights as well. According to the Florida Crime Victims' Bill of Rights, crime victims are entitled to be notified of any criminal proceedings against the individual accused of the crime. Moreover, victims are entitled to be present at and heard during these proceedings. These entitlements extend to the representatives of victims as well. For instance, the next of kin of a deceased victim may be considered a lawful representative.
However, these victims' rights may not inhibit the rights of the accused. Some of the rights belonging to individuals accused of crimes include receiving a copy of the charges laid against them as well as understanding the nature and cause for the charges.
There are several types of crimes by which people become victims and suffer injury or death. Many of these crimes involve the use of a firearm, such as when an owner of a motor vehicle is robbed at gunpoint. Thousands of victims suffer gunshot wounds during the commission of a crime every year in the United States. These injuries may be severe, resulting in shattered bones, paralysis, internal bleeding, organ damage or even death. Such injuries may have life-altering effects on victims and their families, including adverse financial ramifications.
Along with their rights during criminal proceedings, victims of crime may also be entitled to personal injury compensation for damages associated with the injuries they suffered during the commission of the crime via civil action. On account of this reason, and to better understand the process of filing a lawsuit, many accident victims retain the representation of a personal injury attorney.>
Source: Florida Office of the Attorney General, "Florida Crime Victims' Bill of Rights", October 24, 2014