Someone who has suffered at the hands of a criminal may find it difficult to know where to turn. In the paragraphs below, an experienced victims rights attorney offers guidance and information.
Treatment for physical injuries, mental trauma, time lost from work and other costs add a financial burden to the emotional and physiological pain the victim is already suffering. Assuming that the perpetrator is brought to justice, restitution can be imposed that can assist with these expenses. This, however, can only occur if the criminal is prosecuted and a conviction is obtained. If not, victim compensation through a state program such as The California Victim Compensation Program, or CalVCP, may be the answer to easing this financial stress.
California residents who have sustained physical or psychological injury from the following crimes can apply for compensation:
• Rape or other sex crime;
• Violence in the home;
• Child abandonment or trauma from seeing marital or familial abuse; or
• Driving while intoxicated.
Persons visiting California who are injured during their stay may obtain compensation if funding cannot be obtained from their home state’s program. The family of a murder victim may file a claim for compensation assuming that financial hardship is incurred because of the loss of the victim’s income. In order to qualify, victims must usually file a police report and assist with the investigation and prosecution of the offender. If the victim is a child, fears harm from the perpetrator, is incapacitated or unable to cooperate for some other valid reason, this requirement may be waived.
Only expenses not already reimbursed can be recovered under CalVCP. These include doctors’, dentists’ and hospital bills, therapy or psychological counseling, mortuary expenses, moving expenses, loss of wages or other income, employment-related training, adaptations to home or car to accommodate impairments and cleaning the scene of the incident. There is a $63,000 limit to compensation available through CalVCP.
Your victims rights lawyer can assist you in submitting an application for crime victim compensation. The procedure is not difficult, but you will need to provide hard copy backup for the expenses you are claiming, such as doctor’s invoices or other documents. Your application must be submitted no later than three years subsequent to the crime. If there are special circumstances, the deadline may be waived or extended. Normally. a decision will be made within approximately six months. You can request either a court review or a hearing if your application is not granted.
At the Law Office of Michael L. Fell, a Professional Corporation, we will fight for your rights. Call us at (949) 585-9055 and speak to a victims rights attorney today.