There have been a few times in my life that I have needed a lawyer, and during those times, their help was invaluable. I worked with lawyers during the custody battle for my kids, when I dissolved the partnership for my business and after I suffered an injury at work. In this blog, I plan to write about the law from a range of angles. I may share posts inspired by my personal experiences, what's popular in the news or what strikes my fancy when I'm writing. I have a daughter, Oliva. I manage a medical clinic, and I love blogging. I hope you like the results. My name is Melinda, and thanks for reading!
As a victim of crime, you may be entitled to criminal compensation. To find out if you're eligible, the following information will help.
The First Steps
Before you consider taking legal action against the defendant, you must contact the police and report the crime so they can identify and prosecute the offender. When you make the initial report, write down the name of the police officer and the report number. While you can still make compensation claims against the offender without reporting the offence, it can be far more difficult, as you may have to justify why you never helped with the police enquiry.
In Australia, claims for criminal compensation must be filed within three years of the offence (the date of the incident). The Office of Criminal Injuries Compensation may extend this time frame if you can provide a valid reason why you never acted earlier.
Criminal compensation can be available for pain and suffering, loss of income, medical and legal expenses and other incidental expenses that have derived from the criminal activity. In the event of a death, the family of the deceased can claim for funeral compensation and loss of financial support.
If you'd like compensation for expenses, such as medical treatment or property damage, keep all of your receipts so you can file them with your claim. You may also be required to submit doctor's notes/statements if you're seeking damages for a medical condition. While it's free to file a claim yourself, if you engage the services of a solicitor, their legal fees cannot be reimbursed. Once the claim is filed, the decision to award compensation is conducted by the Assessor of Criminal Injuries Compensation.
The Court Hearing
If the defendant admits to the crime, then you and any witnesses probably won't have to give evidence. However, if they don't admit to the crime, you may have to attend a court hearing. This doesn't necessarily take place in a typical court setting. If you feel distressed, the court will make arrangements for you to give evidence without coming into contact with the defendant, usually via video link. If you're not happy with the assessor's outcome, you can lodge an appeal through the District Court within 21 days.
If you're still unsure about where you stand, seek advice from a professional criminal lawyer. They will be able to assess your individual circumstances and discern whether or not you have a case that's worth pursuing.Share