Compensation and Restitution
Restitution. The judge or the Parole Board may order a convicted defendant to repay you for losses suffered as a result of the crime. In order for the judge or Parole Board to know what losses you have suffered, you must have completed a Victim Impact Statement (VIS). A victim assistant will help you complete the VIS. However, some losses may be the kind that cannot be repaid. The defendant may have a limited ability to make monetary restitution (he may have no money, may be unemployable, or he may be in prison for many years). Therefore, restitution may not be complete.
Restitution payments may be stretched out over several years. Payments are not paid by the offender directly to the victim but are paid to the clerk of court or the SC Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services who issues a restitution check.
The SC Victims Compensation Fund. A victim of a crime who has suffered some loss as the result of that crime may be eligible for compensation from the SC Victims Compensation Fund. The fund may provide benefits when someone has medical expenses, losses of earnings, counseling expenses, or (in death cases) funeral expenses, if those expenses are not covered by other sources. To qualify for compensation, one must report the crime to the police within 48 hours of its occurrence (if possible), cooperate with law enforcement and the Governors Office Division of Victim Assistance (DOVA), and complete an application (see Resources list). Your law enforcement or solicitors office victim assistant will be able to help you with your application.
To receive funds the loss must exceed $100. As of July 1, 1996, the maximum allowable compensation for funeral expenses is $4,000, for any one claim is $15,000, and for extreme cases the maximum is $25,000.
Suing the defendant. In addition to going through the criminal court process, you may consider suing the defendant for damages. This takes place in civil court. These matters are heard at your county courthouse, probably the same place the criminal trial did or will take place, but in a somewhat different kind of trial. In order to determine whether or not you should sue, you will need to discuss the matter with the attorney of your choice.
Victims have a right:
Victims and prosecution witnesses have a responsibility:
A victim, in order to receive restitution:
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