Crime victim compensation is a government fund that is used to reimburse victims of violent crimes, such as: rape, homicide, assault and battery, hit and run, and sometimes, burglary.
Who is Eligible to Receive Victim Compensation Funds?
Usually, anyone who is a direct victim of a violent crime is eligible for compensation. Laws vary by state, but some states only compensate those victims who were physically injured by the crime. Other states also compensate victims who were traumatized, but not physically harmed during the commission of the crime.
The family of a homicide victim may receive compensation for hospital bills, funeral/burial costs, loss of support, and counseling sessions. Families of other crimes, such as: child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault may also receive compensation for counseling services.
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What Types of Expenses are Covered?
Crime victim compensation will cover crime-related expenses, not already covered by insurance. Below are common costs that victims compensation will cover:
- Medical and or dental expenses associated with the crime;
- Therapy and counseling;
- Lost wage reimbursement;
- Loss of support for children and other dependents; and
- Funeral/burial costs, up to a specified amount
States vary on how much money can be paid for any one case. The average upper limit for benefits compensation is about $25,000. Some states will pay more, and others will pay less. An experienced attorney in your jurisdiction will be able to advise you on the laws in your state, and provide guidance on receiving compensation.
What are the Requirements for Receiving Crime Victims’ Compensation?
In order to receive crime victim compensation, states will generally require the following of victims:
- The crime must be reported to the police, preferably as soon as possible;
- Full cooperation with law enforcement and prosecutors on the case;
- Submit the compensation application by the given deadline. The state may be lenient on the timeframe, depending on the case;
- Must not have been committing a crime, nor been involved in an offense that caused or contributed to the injury or death.
- For instance, a robber holding up a liquor store would not be entitled to crime victims’ compensation if he was shot during the commission of the crime;
- In sexual assault cases, a medical examination was conducted with evidence collection within 72 hours; and
- The victim was injured or died as a result of the crime.
In some situations, the victim who is receiving compensation may be required to provide testimony, physical evidence, and/or the identification of suspects.
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Do I Need a Lawyer for Crime Victims’ Compensation?
If you have been victimized by the criminal actions of someone else, you should contact a local criminal attorney as soon as possible. Crime victim compensation can be complicated, and an experienced lawyer who is familiar with the criminal court system in your jurisdiction will help you obtain the compensation that is rightfully yours.