Crime victims can undergo a traumatic experience. Harm may involve physical, emotional and mental effects that can last very briefly, be delayed or persist. One goal of crime victim litigation is seeking compensation to help deal with these problems.
Possible trauma effects
Some crime victims may experience some trauma symptoms. Returning to a normal life can be especially challenging for violent crime victims and the families of homicide victims. If these symptoms do not go away, medical, or mental health assistance may be needed.
Physical effects include nausea, tremors, chills, sweating, loss of coordination, chest pains or heart palpitations, high blood pressure, headaches, sleep disturbances, upset stomach, appetite loss and startled responses.
Crime victims may also suffer emotional symptoms. These can include anxiety, fear, guilt, grief, depression, sadness, anger, irritability, numbness, wanting to withdraw or hide and feeling lost, abandoned, and isolated.
Mental symptoms may also follow a traumatic crime. Victims may face slower thinking, confusion, disorientation, memory problems, nightmares, problems concentrating, difficulties with decision making and the inability to concentrate.
Some victims and their families may have their lives changed. They can feel that their life is empty and missing something. Priorities may change.
Coping mechanism include sharing your feelings with a friend and having their telephone number available to speak to them when you feel overwhelmed or panicked. But emotional pain is not infinite and may ease.
Other dealing mechanisms include keeping a journal, spending time with others but making time for yourself, re-establishing a normal routine over time, making daily decisions, engaging in reasonable exercise and remembering the things that help with coping during difficult times and ideas that provide hope.
Victims should not self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, make important and life-changing decisions until they are ready, and their judgment is not impaired, or blame themselves for something that is not their fault. Emotions need to be expressed.
An attorney can help seek compensation for victims who were harmed by a criminal. They can also pursue cases against a negligent person or government agency which did not take reasonable precautions.