Compensation for Victims of Violent Crimes
Being the victim of a violent crime is one of the most traumatic events that can happen in a person’s life. In making the effort to recover from what happened to them, crime victims deal with feelings of fear, helplessness, and heightened anxiety, while also dealing with the injuries sustained during the course of the crime. Physical recovery can take months and even years, and some victims never fully recover from the harm done by another. While the criminal court system attempts to hold perpetrators of criminal acts accountable, victims are often left holding the bill for the damages resulting from criminal acts of others. Compensation for victims of violent crimes is available through the civil court system. Though many victims are not aware of the legal recourse available to them in pursuing compensation for their injuries, obtaining a judgment for damages can be a crucial step in making the transition from victim to survivor.
South Carolina Victim Assistance Program
The South Carolina Office of Victim Assistance (SOVA) is a state government agency that aims to help victims and their families put their lives back together in the aftermath of a crime. Based on the victim’s eligibility and needs, SOVA can help people who have suffered the impact of a violent crime get some of the help they need to recover from the crime. Compensation is available through the victim assistance program, which includes compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Funeral expenses
While SOVA helps with the above expenses associated with a crime, there are certain costs that SOVA will not cover. These include:
- Property damage or replacement costs
- Pain and suffering
- Ongoing disability or lost income as the result of a crime
- Relocation expenses
It is important to note that SOVA does not help with non-criminal traffic offenses, nor will it provide expenses already covered by insurance or Medicaid.
Legal Recourse for Victims of Crimes
Under South Carolina law, you may be entitled to seek civil recourse for a criminal act that was committed against you. While the criminal court enforces the punishment for a crime and may even require the perpetrator to pay restitution to their victims, the civil court system allows the victim of a crime to file a suit for damages. Under Section 15-32-210 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, compensation victims may seek in a civil lawsuit include:
- Economic damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, physical rehabilitative costs, property damage and replacement, loss of income and employment, loss of earning capacity and education costs
- Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement or physical impairment, loss of reputation, loss of enjoyment of life, and humiliation
Victims may also be entitled to punitive damages, which is compensation paid to a victim that is meant to serve as punishment for the person who committed the wrongdoing or criminal act.
Reach Out to Us Today
If you or someone you love is a victim of a violent crime, contact our experienced South Carolina personal injury attorneys today. Violent crimes have long-term effects on victims and everyone who cares for them. Our attorneys can pursue civil legal remedies that can ensure you and your family receives the compensation needed to recover. Let us help you and your loved ones get the justice you deserve.