Violent crime can obviously have devastating physical and emotional consequences, for victims and innocent bystanders alike. Less often acknowledged, but just as real, are the heavy financial burdens it can leave.
If you’ve been a victim or even a witness to a violent crime in Georgia, you may have more resources available to you than you realize. The Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program is specifically designed to help people who’ve been financially affected by local violent crime.
Who Can Apply for Victim Compensation?
To qualify for victim compensation in Georgia, the crime that affected you must have taken place in Georgia within the last three years. You’re most likely to be approved if the crime was reported to the authorities, and if one or more of the following applies:
- You were physically injured by a crime
- You were hurt trying to help a victim of the crime
- You are the parent or guardian of someone who was killed or injured in a crime
- You were financially dependent on someone who was killed
- You have been paying bills related to the crime, even if you are not the victim
- Your child was the victim, and you relied on the offender for financial support
- You were a victim of family violence committed by someone you depended on financially
- You suffered serious mental or emotional trauma as a result of being threatened or being present during a crime
And you’ve been burdened with any of these expenses as a result:
- Medical, Dental or Counseling Expenses (including copays or deductibles)
- Loss of Income or Support
- Funeral Expenses
- Crime Scene Sanitization Expenses
Limitations of the Victim Compensation Program
There is a cap on the financial assistance you can receive from the victim compensation program — $25,000, to be exact. There are also caps on the compensation you can receive in certain categories, such as funerary expenses or counseling. Your overall expenses may be much higher than what you can recover through the program, especially if the crime left you in need of ongoing therapy or medical care.
In an ideal situation, you should be able recoup your full financial losses. However, there are many less-than-ideal situations in which the victim compensation program can offer vital help, but where the financial losses are well in excess of the $25,000.00 limit.
Did you know that 36,521 violent crimes were reported in Georgia in 2017? In many of those cases, the victim suffers serious physical, emotional, and financial losses that are well in excess of the $25,000.00 victim’s compensation program limit. Fortunately for the victim, there may be other options available.
In certain circumstances, Georgia law allows a crime victim to bring a lawsuit against the facility where the crime occurred under the theory that the facility had a responsibility to make their land safe. These cases typically are brought against a hotel, apartment, gas station, or another large venue such as MARTA or Wal-Mart. Of course, litigation can take time, and the victim compensation program may be able to help make ends meet in the meantime.
If you or a family member has been a victim of a crime, and you are not sure what avenues of compensation are available to you, feel free to reach out to the Stoddard Firm for a free consultation. We’re here to discuss all your options for recovering from the fallout of violent crime.