Getting a Handle on Self-Defense Coverage and Costs
Getting a Handle on Self-Defense Coverage Plans and Costs
Self-defense shootings can present many confusing and difficult scenarios to sort through. A self-defense shooting incident creates turmoil for the victims directly involved. Then there’s the aftermath, including the protracted criminal and legal processes. Anyone who’s experienced a self-defense shooting can attest to the complexity of these cases.
You’ll come across many different self-defense coverage plans and services that provide legal and financial benefits for members. Many of these plans, unfortunately, can be somewhat confusing when it comes to the details
Today, we’re going to help you understand the clearly-defined benefits of CCW Safe’s Self-Defense Coverage Plans. We’ll also take a closer look at the process CCW Safe deploys immediately following a client’s self-defense shooting (as soon as we’re made aware of the situation).
You can never be prepared enough for a life-threatening incident. This is especially true for a self-defense shooting and the aftermath that ensues. Training in the legal arena, firearms safety, shooting proficiency classes, along with learning how to make critical decisions under stress are all types of training we encourage our clients – and anyone who owns a firearm – to take seriously. However, even with the best training, the stress people experience after a self-defense shooting stems from what is often a lengthy, frustrating and exhausting process. And it’s hard to prepare for that kind of stress.
The Inevitable Criminal Investigation
The one constant variable with any self-defense shooting is that there will always be a criminal investigation. Many companies skim over the criminal process because they offer limited legal coverage. The criminal investigation is usually one of the heaviest burdens for the victim to bear. Their freedom is at stake, after all.
Being on the defense end of a criminal investigation – particularly when charges are being investigated or filed – is nerve-wracking. This period could potentially be the most worrying time of anyone’s life. Personal relationships are often stressed to breaking points, leading to problems at the home.
The most important decision directly following a self-defense shooting is choosing the right attorney for your case. CCW Safe takes an active role in a members’ defense – especially when deciding on the right legal counsel.
Attacks involving the use of deadly force are violent and happen fast. If you’re ever the victim of one, by the time you recognize what’s happening, the attack will likely be over. You will most likely suffer physiological issues like second-guessing your actions, auditory exclusion, tunnel vision and memory distortion (all of which can affect your testimony). Try to visualize and understand these potential physiological issues and how they might affect you before you’re ever involved in a self-defense shooting.
Directly following a self-defense shooting (the first few hours), never sort through a list of defense attorneys on your own. Don West, National Trial Counsel with CCW Safe, can be reached through our 24-hour emergency call center – along with experienced backup attorneys – for immediate assistance if a member is involved in a self-defense emergency.
Don personally handpicks the best attorneys suited for a case based on the case’s specific circumstances. For people who aren’t familiar with Don West, he served as co-counsel in the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case. He has extensive experience defending serious felony cases. Don has successfully tried several self-defense cases involving the use of a firearm used to fend off an unlawful attack. After Mr. Zimmerman’s acquittal, Mr. West continued to represent Mr. Zimmerman in the federal civil rights investigation until 2015, when the Department of Justice announced no charges would be filed.
Don is the lawyer I’d want vetting my attorneys if I were ever involved in another shooting.
Some people want to know who their attorney would be before a shooting incident takes place. However, no one knows when an actual life or death self-defense situation will arise. You can’t control circumstances around a future incident, or if special interest groups will get involved, or if the incident will erupt during an election cycle and be influenced by political motivation. All of these factors may affect who ultimately represents you.
If forced to pick an attorney from a list, you should start your research now. Check them out online, or call to make sure they practice criminal law and are experienced professionals. Some self-defense coverage companies only list attorney networks, which is just a grab bag of attorneys in different fields – many with little to no experience in criminal law.
What do good self-defense attorneys cost? Below, you’ll find a great in-depth video by Don West and Mike Darter, Co-Founder and CEO of CCW Safe, explaining attorney costs. The first two legal expenses (bail and attorney fees) will run you around $75,000.
With most plans, you’ll quickly be out of pocket $100,000. This initial outlay of cash may affect the kind of attorney you can afford. USCCA’s attorney, in a recent video, stated that he wouldn’t take a murder case for anything less than $100,000.
Bail is another area some companies downplay, as bail can run anywhere from $2,500 to $25,000, on average. In a recent incident involving a CCW Safe member, bail was set at $500,000, with a coverage fee of $50,000. Luckily, our member had $1 million bond protection. CCW Safe negotiated the fee to a 6% face amount ($30,000), which was fully covered by our company. In that particular case, over $50,000 was spent on the investigator alone. With the highest available coverage (other than ours), that would have left only $45,000 for attorney fees. Other areas not typically covered – or even mentioned – by most of our competitors’ plans include coverage for experts, depositions, trial exhibits and jury consultants.
These rocket-high self-defense legal expenses should be a major concern for gun owners. The costs to mount an effective defense forces many defendants into bankruptcy, or keep them from hiring the right attorney. In a worst-case scenario, to save money, a defendant would have to plea to lesser charges, which would forfeit any future coverage (including civil coverage).
With CCW Safe, criminal, administrative and civil costs are all fully covered – no matter the legal verdict and outcome.
While our competitors often attack CCW Safe due to the fact we offer unlimited coverage, those same companies do offer unlimited coverage for civil litigation. Why? Because civil litigation is rare – especially if the shooting is ruled as justified, or someone is charged and found not guilty.
There has only been one civil case against a civilian involved in a self-defense case that we could dig up. And that case was immediately thrown out by the judge. In an article published by one of our competitors, they based their self-defense arguments on the O.J. Simpson trial, which had nothing to do with self-defense. That was a clear-cut murder trial.
If a guilty verdict in a criminal case is handed down, which increases the likelihood of civil litigation, you won’t be covered by our competitors’ programs. After a guilty verdict, which would include a plea to a lesser charge, their coverage would end, which is why many of these firms highlight coverage for civil litigation as their strongest selling point. But, as we’ve explained, civil cases are rare.
Deciding what type of coverage to go with should never be taken lightly.
Do your research and look at each phase of a particular coverage plan, starting with the criminal phase. Make sure there’s adequate coverage for the criminal phase, as that phase will be the first hurdle you’ll have to clear after a self-defense shooting (along with an extensive criminal investigation). A better understanding of what to expect before ever resorting to force for self-defense will make a huge difference in what you’ll experience during the aftermath of a shooting from an emotional, legal and financial standpoint.