Compensation for Crime Victims

Along with the fright and danger, being a crime victim can include injury or even death. A Mississippi law enables a victim to receive compensation from the state for the expenses and economic loss suffered. 

The law defines a victim as any person who suffers personal injury or death as a result of a crime, a dependent of a person killed as a result of a crime, or a person authorized to act on the dependent's behalf. A dependent is a person wholly or partially dependent upon the deceased victim for care or support, including a child of the victim born after the victim's death. 

Two major conditions exist in the victim's compensation law. It prohibits recovery from the state if the victim can receive compensation from another source, and it places maximum levels on benefits awarded. 

Another source for compensation may include the offender (the person who committed or attempted to commit the crime), the United States government or an agency thereof, any state government other than the State of Mississippi or any political subdivision thereof, Social Security, Medicaid, or Medicare. 

Other sources also include workers' compensation, an employer's wage continuation program, an insurance contract, a contract providing prepaid hospital or other health care benefits, or any temporary nonoccupational disability insurance. 

A victim can receive compensation from the criminal in several ways. The judge in the criminal trial can order the offender to make restitution to the victim, or the victim can file a civil suit to recover money for injuries suffered. 

Mississippi law also prohibits the offender from receiving money for the presentation of the crime in a movie, book, magazine, television show, etc. The State Treasurer receives any such money and places it in a special account to benefit the crime victim. To be eligible for the benefits, the victim must follow certain procedures and deadlines. 

The law's two compensation categories have maximum levels. Economic loss, the monetary loss the victim suffers if unable to work, allows for reimbursement of up to $150 per week for 52 weeks, not to exceed $10,000. Allowable victim expenses, including medical care, mental health counseling, and rehabilitation, must be a reasonable amount. The law allows reimbursement of funeral, cremation, or burial expenses up to $3,500. 

To learn more, contact the Mississippi Victim Compensation Program, Barefield Complex, Suite 120; 455 N. Lamar St.; Jackson, MS 39202 or call 1-601-359-6755 or 1-800-829-6766.