Being a victim of a crime can be extremely distressing, particularly if you have been injured. The financial burden of taking time off work for medical or psychological treatments may also add to your stress. But, is there compensation available for those losses? And, if so, how do you access it? Our expert criminal injury lawyers explain.
Can I make a claim for compensation?
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme in Western Australia is designed to provide compensation if you suffer any of the following as a result of an offence:
- physical injury
- psychological injury,
- nervous shock (a psychiatric illness caused by the death of someone close to you)
- or pregnancy
Compensation can be claimed if:
- the incident has been reported to the police; and even if,
- the offender is not identified, charged, or convicted of the offence.
Compensation will not be paid if:
- the alleged offender is acquitted at trial,
- if you did not assist police with the investigation; or,
- if you were engaged in criminal conduct when you were injured.
If you have already received damages or insurance payments for the same event, it will be deducted from the compensation amount.
How much compensation do crime victims get?
The maximum amount of compensation a victim of crime can receive is $75,000.00 per offence, to a maximum of $150,000.00.
The amount of compensation awarded is decided by the assessor of criminal injuries, who makes a decision based on a variety of factors including:
- pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life
- loss of past and/or future income
- medical or psychological treatment expenses
- other incidental expenses, such as travel for medical treatment or damages of personal items.
In the case of a death, a close relative can apply for funeral expenses and loss of financial support.
You may also apply for an interim payment of treatment and/or funeral expenses and payment of medical reports before your application is finalised. Limits apply to the amount that can be claimed as an interim payment. Alternatively, you can pay for expenses yourself, and when the application is made, submit the receipts to claim back the costs that you have incurred.
Are there time limits to make a victims of crime claim?
Yes, you have three years from the date of the offence to lodge an application. The application should be made once your injuries have stabilised, except where interim payments are sought for treatment, reports, or funeral costs.
If your claim is more than three years old, you may still apply but will need to provide written reasons for the delay with your completed application.
How to apply for victims of crime compensation:
Your application will be lodged online via the eCourts portal by you, your solicitor, or legal representative. There is no fee for lodging an application.
Do I need legal representation?
Although you don’t need legal representation to make a victims of crime claim there are significant benefits, including setting yourself up to get the best possible outcome, without the mental burden.
Our expert Criminal Injuries Compensation lawyers will help you obtain medical and other evidence to support your claim and streamline the application, ideally with no upfront cost to you. Contact us to find out more about how we can help.
It’s particularly important to get expert legal advice from a criminal injuries lawyer if:
- the victim is a child
- it has been more than three years since the offence happened
- the offence has not been reported to the police or the offender has not been charged
- you were injured as a child and it has been more than three years since the offence happened
- you have suffered long term domestic or sexual abuse
- your claim is complex, for example, you wish to claim for psychological injury or economic loss
- you wish to claim as a close relative of a person killed as a result of the offence
- you are not satisfied with the amount of compensation you have received and wish to appeal.
Stephen Browne Lawyers are experts in victim of crime claims
At Stephen Browne Personal Injury Lawyers, we will help you understand your rights and work tirelessly to ensure you receive the criminal compensation and entitlements that you deserve. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your victims of crime claim.