Prejudices people based on where they are from, how they worship, or the lifestyle they lead can often lead to acts of discrimination. When these acts turn aggressive and result in assaults and other forms of violence, the perpetrator can be charged with a hate crime. In addition to pursuing criminal charges, victims of hate crimes can work with a hate crime lawyer to file a civil lawsuit regarding the personal injuries they suffered. The following defines what constitutes a hate crime and what you can do to get compensation for your damages.
The Prevalence Of Hate Crimes
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) advises that hate crimes are any act of violence against a person, group, or business based on their race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. These crimes are a violation of both state and federal laws, and those who commit them face severe criminal penalties.
According to the latest available statistics from the FBI, close to 7,000 people were victims of verified hate crimes in 2015. The following represents percentages of how victims were targeted in these crimes:
- Roughly 57 percent were motivated by race or ethnicity
- Over 21 percent were motivated by religious bias
- 18 percent were based on the victim’s sexual orientation
- 3 percent were crimes committed against disabled persons
- Less than one percent, representing 23 victims, are attributed to gender bias
The current political climate is alleged to be responsible for an increase in the number of hate crimes committed. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that there has been a sharp increase both in hate crimes against immigrants and against women.
Contact A Hate Crime Lawyer In Charleston, SC
Hate crimes can involve physical or sexual assaults, threats and intimidation, and robbery or acts of vandalism. The first thing you should do when a crime like this occurs is to notify local law enforcement. Criminal charges may be filed in these cases, with penalties including heavy fines, restitution, and potential jail sentences.
If you suffered injuries and other damages as a result of a hate crime, it is important to seek medical attention and document all of the expenses you incur. Working with a hate crime lawyer, you may be able to seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, claiming the following types of damages:
- Medical expenses, including future costs you may incur
- Lost wages, and any future losses in earnings you are likely to suffer
- Property damages, reimbursing you for the cost of repairs or replacement
- Compensation for pain, suffering, and mental anguish you suffered as a result of the incident
- Punitive damages, meant to punish the offender for conduct that was particularly reckless and willful
To discuss your case, types of compensation you may be entitled to, or to learn how a hate crime lawyer can help, contact the Anastopoulo Law Firm. We can arrange a one on one consultation with our experienced South Carolina personal injury attorney. At a time like this, you need a strong legal advocate to ensure your rights are protected.