Restitution seeks to compensate people who have been injured or suffered loss because of another person's conduct. Restitution will be awarded only for out-of-pocket expenses caused by the offender's conduct. Restitution will only be granted if the amount can be calculated with certainty (based on evidence).
Restitution can be awarded in many types of civil cases. Some common examples include:
Although criminal law is typically understood as offenses against society as a whole, many states have created laws that allow victims to obtain restitution from the criminals who have wronged them. Laws regarding restitution will differ by state, but it typically requires a conviction and an application to the appropriate party. The appropriate party is typically the court, but the prosecuting attorney or the probate department may be the correct party to contact in some states and/or jurisdictions.
States allow victims to sue criminal defendants in civil law, but using the civil law to sue is less effective because suing using civil law procedure takes longer and requires that the defendant be represented by an attorney before any judgment can be given. In states that allow criminal restitution for crime victims, victims can use the existing conviction to ask for just compensation.
If you are seeking restitution, you need to include this claim in your initial complaint. If you are forced to pay civil restitution, it may be unjustified. In either case, please talk to an experienced attorney to learn more about restitution issues. An experienced attorney will give you the best probability of getting restitution (or avoiding it!).
Last Modified: 04-04-2013 12:24 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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