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If you were listed as a victim, and had an out-of-pocket financial loss because of a crime, you have a right to request restitution from the defendant.
Restitution covers any type of monetary loss you have had due to the crime including medical bills, counseling bills, and property loss. Restitution does not cover pain and suffering. The type of restitution you can receive and what is covered by the law depends on the crime type and charges. Once a restitution order is signed by the court, the defendant is ordered to pay.
How it works
Criminal restitution is money ordered by the court and paid by the offender. It is ordered at the time the offender is sentenced. Restitution can be ordered after a conviction at sentencing or at a restitution hearing within 180 days from the date of sentencing.
Certain crime types may qualify for Crime Victim’s Compensation Program (CVC), which may cover medical bills for injuries from the crime. For example, you had insurance that covered a portion of the loss, and Crime Victim’s Compensation covered the remaining bill. With restitution, you would not get what insurance had already paid as there are eligible and ineligible losses.
Getting the money
The Superior Court Clerk receives the money and then disburses it to the victim. If the defendant makes payments, you receive the money. If the defendant does not make payments, you don’t receive the money.
It is not uncommon for little to no restitution to be collected from the offender. The Clerk's Legal Financial Obligations Collections Program staff can answer more questions on the process.
Assistance after violent crimes
The Washington State Crime Victim Compensation Program (CVCP) can assist you and your family with out-of-pocket costs related to violent crimes for medical, counseling, time loss, and funeral bills. They are a payer of last resort, so if you have insurance, they can pay what insurance cannot.
Our Victim Assistance Unit may be able to help you fill out the proper forms. If you need help filling out the forms call 408-295-2656 for more information.