Answering Some Common Questions About Criminal Compensation in Australia

Australia has a program to compensate victims of crimes for property loss, medical costs, and other such financial hardships. It's imperative that anyone who has suffered a loss due to a crime find out about this program so that they can be compensated as much as possible. Note a few questions you might have about this program so you can know if it would benefit you.

1. Why hire a lawyer for compensation?

One reason to have a lawyer help you through the claims process is that you don't want to overlook any losses you may have suffered and for which you may be entitled compensation. For example, you may be entitled to compensation for damage to clothing and other such items. You may be compensated, not just for medical expenses not covered by your health insurance, but for travel expenses for getting to and from the doctor's office. There are a number of losses for which you might be entitled compensation and a lawyer can ensure none of those get overlooked.

You should also speak to a lawyer because there may be reasons why your claim might be denied; for example, if the offender was acquitted of the charges or you did not report the offense to the police. The claim can also be complicated if you were victimized as a child and if you want to make a claim for the loss of future earnings. There is no guarantee that you wouldn't receive compensation in these cases, but having a lawyer represent you can increase your chances of getting approved. 

2. Do victims needs to interact with the offender during the claims process?

Victims never need to interact with the criminal offender when making a claim for criminal compensation; their compensation is made directly by the State and the State then attempts to collect these funds from the offender. The victim is not part of the process of collecting funds from the offender, so don't neglect your chance to get compensation because you think that you would need to face the offender again.

3. Does the criminal court judge make the decision about compensation?

Criminal compensation is assessed and awarded through a completely different branch of the State than the criminal court system. If you were uncomfortable with the judge or the jury decision during a criminal trial, you shouldn't assume that you won't get a favorable decision about criminal compensation. Speak to a lawyer (like those at Alexanders Lawyers) and he or she can advise you on the best way to proceed to protect your claim.