The United States legal system is very good at locking people up after they’ve committed a crime, but taking care of the victims of those crimes is not always its top priority.
Luckily, there are a number of ways that, as a victim of a crime, you can pursue compensation in court. The most common way to do this is by filing a civil suit, which is separate from the criminal case that prosecutes the perpetrator of the crime.
But in Louisiana, there are actually two other ways for victims of crimes to pursue compensation for their losses. At Wright Gray, we’ve represented hundreds of crime victims in their search for not just justice, but material compensation from the people who harmed them.
Read on for our breakdown of who is entitled to compensation after they’ve been a victim of a crime, and how.
3 ways crime victims are entitled to compensation
- Louisiana Crime Victims Reparations Act: One option that Louisiana provides crime victims that isn’t available in other states is the Crime Victims Reparations Fund. Victims can apply through the Crime Victims Reparations Board, and are paid from a fund originating in fines and restitution paid by the perpetrators of the crimes.
- Restitution: A more direct way to get compensation from the person responsible for the crime that harmed you is through restitution. These court-ordered payments by the defendant are usually used to cover the victim’s court costs, but in certain cases, as a condition of a plea bargain, the defendant may be required to make a larger payment of restitution to the victim.
- Civil suit: The most common way to seek compensation for the losses you’ve incurred as a result of a crime committed against you is to file a separate civil suit with a personal injury attorney. If you require compensation for medical bills, property losses, or pain and suffering, a civil suit is the best way for you to get what you need.
Who is eligible for crime victim compensation?
In general, anyone who was injured, suffered from financial losses, or was otherwise harmed by a crime can be eligible to pursue compensation through one of these three options. Here are some examples:
The Louisiana Crime Victims Reparations Board has more strict requirements about who can apply for reparations, and what expenses can be covered. Read this article by the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement for more information.
What expenses can be covered by crime victim compensation?
Depending on whether you are pursuing reparations through the Crime Victims Reparations Act, seeking restitution in a criminal case, or suing the person responsible for the crime through a separate civil case, there are different requirements about what expenses can be covered.
If you’re pursuing a separate civil case, you can sue the person responsible for your losses for compensation for any of the following costs:
- Court costs
- Property damage or property loss
- Medical bills
- Funeral expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income
- Emotional trauma or pain and suffering
Whether you actually receive compensation for these expenses will depend on the evidence you present in court and whether you have the guidance of an experienced and skilled personal injury attorney.
Contact a Louisiana attorney to get victim compensation
At Wright & Gray, we understand how difficult it can be to recover when you or a family member have been the victim of a crime.
From shooting victims to drunk driving accidents, we have the experience and knowledge of the law to help make sure you are fully compensated for your losses and receive justice for the harm that was done to you.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case.