If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where you are a victim of a criminal offence such as an assault occasioning bodily harm, unlawful wounding, or sexual assault you may be eligible to obtain compensation for the loss and damage suffered. The three different ways victims of crime can recover compensation for physical injuries or financial losses sustained will be explored below.
Office of Criminal Injuries Compensation
A victim of crime may lodge a claim with the Office of Criminal Injuries Compensation if the crime occurred in Western Australia, they have reported the crime to the Police and have sustained loss or damage as a result of the crime. Even if the Police are unable to identify the accused, a victim may still be eligible for compensation.
Victims of crime can obtain compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of income or loss of enjoyment of life.
Victims of crime should note that there is a 3 year limitation period for obtaining compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act. This means that you must file a claim for compensation within 3 years of the offence being committed; otherwise you may be barred from making a claim, unless you have a good reason for the delay.
Court Ordered Compensation or Restitution
If the offender is convicted and sentenced for the offence that was committed against the victim, the court may order the offender to pay the victim compensation or may order restitution. Victims can request they receive compensation or restitution at the offender’s sentencing. Alternatively, victims can request these remedies up to 12 months after the sentencing date.
If the court orders the offender pay compensation, the offender must pay the victim for expenses that were incurred as a result of the crime and for any damage or destruction caused to the victim’s property.
However, victims cannot “double dip” and seek compensation for physical injuries under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act, as well as court ordered compensation for those same injuries. Therefore, it is recommended victims of crime obtain legal advice from a criminal compensation lawyer in WA to ensure they pursue the form of compensation that benefits them to the maximum extent possible.
If the court orders restitution, the offender or a third must return any property that the offender removed from you during the commission of the offence. If the Police have the property in their possession, they will return this to you pursuant to the restitution order.
Civil Action for Damages
Victims can commence civil proceedings to obtain monetary damages for the injuries they sustained due to being a victim of crime.
Often issues that arise from criminal injuries can be complex and there are some circumstances in which it may appropriate to seek legal advice, for example in circumstances where;
- the offence is not reported to the police;
- the offender is not charged;
- the victim is unsure of the injuries or loss sustained;
- the victim has not claimed within the limitation period;
- the victim is a deceased relative of the person claiming compensation; or
- the victim is not satisfied with the compensation sum received.
At Frichot & Frichot we are dedicated to providing our clients with comprehensive and professional legal advice. If you or someone you know requires assistance with their criminal injuries compensation claim in WA, call Frichot & Frichot on (08) 9335 9877 or complete the form below to request an introductory consultation.