Victims of crime in Washington may be able to secure financial compensation through the State's victim assistance fund.
- Out-of-pocket crime-related expenses
- Medical expenses and lost wages
- Funeral and burial bills
Eligible victims may also be eligible to seek compensation through the civil justice system. To learn if you can file a private lawsuit for damages, call our experienced attorneys now.
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The Washington Crime Victim Compensation Program was designed to provide financial assistance to victims who have suffered physical injuries or severe emotional trauma due to crime. Family members who have lost a loved one to crime may also be able to claim financial reimbursement for their expenses.
In general, compensation is only available in the wake of gross misdemeanors (e.g. simple assault, DUI) and felonies, moderate to serious violent crimes.
- Assault and / or battery
- Sexual assault
- Robbery and burglary
- Civil commitment of a sexually violent predator
- Domestic violence
- DWI / DUI accidents
- Vehicular assault
- Failure to secure trucking load
Some people are not allowed to claim reimbursement for their injury-related expenses:
- your own actions led to the injuries, either because you were provoking, inciting or participating in the criminal offense
- you suffered injuries while you were committing, or attempting to commit, a felony crime
- you were incarcerated at the time of your injury
- you were convicted of a violent felony offense within the last five years
- you were convicted of a felony offense after applying for compensation and have not yet fulfilled your financial obligations as a result of the conviction
What Will Washington's Compensation Program Pay For?
Washington's Crime Victim Compensation Program can cover a limited number of out-of-pocket expenses:
- Medical expenses
- Hospital bills
- Doctor's appointments
- Mental health counseling
- Prescription drugs
- Dental appointments and procedures
- Lost wages
- Funeral and burial expenses
The Crime Victims Compensation Program also pays for sexual assault examinations, or "rape kits." Healthcare providers bill the program directly for their services, so assault survivors should never see a bill. In the case of rape kits, there is no requirement to report the crime to police or file an application for compensation.
No Reimbursement For Property Damage
The program does not reimburse victims for the costs of crime scene clean up, property loss or damage or identity theft.
Additional Funding Sources
Washington's compensation fund operates as a "payer of last resort." If you have other funding sources, like an insurance policy, civil lawsuit settlement or workers comp benefits, those sources of reimbursement come first. The Washington Crime Victim Compensation Program can help pay for the remaining out-of-pocket costs, after all other sources of funding have been exhausted.
Time Limits & Guidelines
In submitting your application, you'll have to comply with the Crime Victims Compensation Program's deadlines and requirements.
Reporting Crime To The Authorities
As in every other state, Washington's victim assistance fund is meant, in addition to helping victims find their footing, to encourage victims to come forward and report crimes.
In general, most crimes must be reported within 1 year of their occurrence, though exceptions can be applied for good cause. You'll also have to file your application for compensation in a "timely" manner. In most cases, that means within 2 years of the crime or, for good cause, within 5 years.
Cooperation With Law Enforcement
To secure compensation, victims in Washington must cooperate with law enforcement officials in their efforts to investigate, arrest and prosecute suspects.
Neither arrest nor prosecution are required to secure compensation; the police don't have to arrest anyone for victims to receive financial reimbursement, but your cooperation is required.
How To Apply For Benefits
You can find a copy of the compensation application here. Look through it carefully and then fill the form out as clearly and completely as you can.
If there are questions you don't know how to answer, just leave them blank or contact the Crime Victims Compensation Program for help.
You can also file your application online, by using the program's e-filing option at this link. To ensure thorough filing, make sure to attach any documents you have to substantiate your claims for compensation. If you have itemized bills or receipts for your expenses, attach copies to your paper application.
Also include any insurance documents that you think might be helpful, including claim acceptance or denial letters. The Crime Victims Compensation Program may contact you for more information or additional documentation if necessary.