Crime victims have rights guaranteed by the state’s Constitution. Although it might seem ironic that you need an attorney because you were the victim of a crime, having legal representation can be beneficial and relieve some of your stress.

A Folsom victim representation lawyer helps crime victims assert their rights and ensures they receive the restitution they deserve. A skilled attorney could represent a person in a civil suit to seek monetary damages from the criminal.

Crime Victims Have Rights to Fair Treatment

California offers crime victims significant legal protections. Since 2008, the state’s Constitution has granted crime victims the right to be treated with dignity and be free from abuse or intimidation throughout the judicial process.

Specifically, a crime victim’s legal protections include the right to have prosecutors and prison officials consider their safety and privacy when deciding bail, conditions of release, or granting parole. Victims have the right to information about court hearings, parole hearings, and other proceedings affecting the person accused of committing the crime against the victim. They have the right to participate in these hearings and speak up for their interests.

The law gives crime victims the ability to pursue restitution. Judges routinely order a defendant to pay restitution upon a guilty plea or conviction. When the person suffers a violent crime, they also could seek reimbursement from the California Crime Victims Compensation Fund. A lawyer in Folsom could help a crime victim compile evidence of their losses to support a claim for restitution.

Process of Seeking Restitution After a Crime

Restitution is a way of repaying a victim for the financial consequences of the crime. Judges can order a convicted criminal to pay restitution to the victim. Restitution includes only economic losses of the person. A crime victim could seek reimbursement for:

  • Crime scene clean-up expenses
  • Lost and damaged property
  • Time off work related to the crime
  • Medical expenses related to the incident, including the cost of psychological treatment and counseling
  • Moving expenses
  • Legal fees

In most cases, restitution does not cover pain and suffering claims, also called non-economic damages.

The probation department approves and oversees restitution claims. A person must prove the expenses they want reimbursement for in a claim. An attorney in Folsom could help a crime victim prepare a claim for restitution.

Seeking Restitution Through the California Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund

Someone might not have the opportunity to seek restitution when the person who committed the crime is never convicted. The California Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund provides funds to compensate victims of violent crimes when the perpetrator is not available to provide restitution. The crime victim’s fund reimburses many of the expenses paid through restitution but not property loss or damage.

Suing a Defendant in Civil Court

Restitution pays many of a crime victim’s losses, but not all of them. A person cannot get pain and suffering damages through restitution, even though being the victim of a crime could cause significant mental distress.

When the person who committed the crime has substantial assets, suing them in civil court for damages could be an option. When an attorney could prove the criminal defendant was negligent or reckless, the victim could receive damages for everything restitution did not cover, including pain and suffering damages.

Time could be a factor, as the California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1 requires someone to file a lawsuit for their injuries within two years of the event. When the person only suffered property damage, they have three years from the date of the incident to sue the perpetrator. Seeking help from a victim representation lawyer in Folsom soon after a crime could ensure a person does not miss any crucial deadlines.

Contact a Folsom Victim Representation Attorney for Support After a Crime

The law gives crime victims extensive rights, but taking advantage of them could be challenging if you are still regaining your mental and physical well-being after a crime. When you are at your most vulnerable, you need the strong support of an experienced attorney. A Folsom victim representation lawyer could help you navigate the criminal justice system. Call today to speak with a compassionate advocate.