Helping Crime Victims Pursue Civil Justice

The NCVBA provides technical support to attorneys representing crime victims in civil actions, refers crime victims to lawyers in their local area, and works to increase general awareness about the availability of civil remedies for victims of crime.

The National Crime Victim Bar Association maintains a nationwide network of attorneys who are dedicated to helping victims of crime rebuild their lives through the Civil Justice system. If you are the victim of a crime and are interested in receiving a referral for a civil attorney, please click here:

Upon receiving your responses to the questionnaire, we will review the information you provide and do our best to provide you with an appropriate attorney referral within 5-7 business days. If we are unable to refer you to an attorney in your area, we will be happy to provide you with alternate resources for you to consider. Please know that your privacy is extremely important to us. Any information you provide will be kept strictly confidential and will only be released to the attorney to whom we refer you.


Information About our Attorney Referral Service

Why would I hire a Civil Attorney?

Regardless of the outcome of the criminal prosecution, or even if there was no prosecution--crime victims can file civil lawsuits against offenders and other responsible parties. If defendants are found civilly liable, courts may order them to pay monetary damages to victims. Money awarded in civil lawsuits can never fully compensate a victim for the trauma of victimization or the loss of a loved one; however, it can be a valuable resource to help crime victims rebuild their lives. Moreover, the exposure to civil liability is a powerful incentive for landlords, businessmen, and other proprietors to enact the security measures necessary to prevent future crime.

Can I get legal advice or representation from the NCVBA prior to being referred?

No, the NCVBA is a non-profit organization and not a law firm. We are unable to provide legal advice or representation.

What are some reasons you would not refer my case?

There may be times when we are unable to refer you to an attorney. This maybe for several reasons such as: (1) your case is not a type we are able to refer for (such as domestic violence, child custody, alimony, and other cases involving family law), (2) the statute of limitations for the crime(s) has passed, or (3) we do not have an attorney in your area that specializes in your case type.

If we are unable to refer you to a civil attorney, we will do our best to provide you with alternative resources located in the state where the crime(s) occurred that may be able to further assist you.

What will this cost me and what will happen if an attorney takes my case?

Your initial consultation is absolutely free. If the attorney decides they are able to take your case, they will likely charge a contingency fee. This means the attorney only recovers if you are awarded monetary compensation for your case. Contingency fees may vary depending on the lawyer and the type of case involved.

Can I get a list of attorneys who handle my type of claim?

We do not offer a list of our attorneys, but encourage individuals to search the internet and their county bar association if they would prefer a list of attorneys in their area who handle their type of claim.


Things to Know Before Retaining An Attorney

Sometimes, we are simply unable to refer a case to one of our attorneys. If we are unable to refer your case, and you choose to pursue another attorney, here are some things you should consider:

  • A productive attorney-client relationship is based upon the ability of both sides to communicate fully and effectively with each other. Although relating sensitive details can be difficult for crime victims, they should feel as comfortable as possible in fully disclosing all details and information to their attorneys. Attorneys should be able to explain effectively important aspects of legal proceedings to victims and they should be responsive to victims’ needs and requests.
  • Prior to signing a contract for attorney representation (a retainer agreement), victims should fully understand all the details of the contract. If victims have questions, they should feel comfortable in discussing them with the attorneys. If questions persist, local bar association personnel may be able to explain laws, regulations, and common practices pertaining to contracts with attorneys.
  • Victims should be clear about what they wish their attorneys to do, and attorneys should be clear about what services they are providing. Understanding each other's expectations, as well as avoiding unrealistic expectations, can minimize the possibility of disappointments and frustration.
  • Victims should feel free to consult with several lawyers before selecting one. Lawyers are professionals, and it is good consumer practice to obtain a second opinion in selecting professional legal counsel.
  • Victims should cooperate as fully as possible with their attorneys. Such cooperation is essential for successful representation of their interests. By the same token, victims have the right to expect their attorneys to be understanding, respectful, and responsive to their needs. Attorneys have the right to expect their clients to be honest, and willing to participate in building their own cases.
  • Fees and Retainers: Usually, civil cases brought by victims of crime are billed by attorneys on a contingency fee basis. This means the attorney is only paid a fee if the victim is awarded a monetary settlement or judgment. If the case is successful, the attorney's fee comes from a predetermined percentage of the total award. Regardless of whether the case is successful, the victim may be responsible for paying certain costs associated with the case including filing fees, expert witness fees, and deposition-related expenses.
Further inquiries about the referral service may be submitted by contacting us at victimbar@victimsofcrime.org.