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Frequently Asked Questions

I am a victim in a criminal case. Is it necessary for me to retain a lawyer to represent me in the criminal case?

As a victim, you are part of the Commonwealth case.  The Commonwealth case is represented by an attorney from the District Attorney's Office.  An Assistant District Attorney will represent that case in all criminal proceedings. 

How do I know if I am eligible for the PA victims compensation fund?

You must meet these requirements to be eligible:

  • The crime occurred in Pennsylvania.
  • The crime must be reported within 72 hours.
  • The victim must co-operate with law enforcement and the courts.
  • The claim must be filed within one year.
  • The victim has not engaged in an illegal activity. (Exceptions are made for child abuse filings.)
  • Minimum loss requirements are met.
    • If under age 60...$100.  Total qualifying out of pocket expenses, or a loss of at least 2 or more continuous week's earnings.
    • If over age 60...no minimum out of pocket loss.

If eligible, what expenses may be paid by the PA victims compensation fund?

A. A Maximum Award of $35,000.00 may be paid with limits for death or any one injury.

B. Medical Expenses - medical, dental, and other expenses related to the injury.

C. Counseling - if the crime results in death, the spouse, parents, or siblings who (at the time of the crime) lived in the same house as the victim.  In other crimes, compensation for counseling covers only victims.

D. Loss of Earnings - If deprived of earnings as a result of injuries received in a crime incident, you may be paid for such loss provided all requirements are met.  If deprived of support due to the death of a victim as a result of a crime incident, you may be eligible for compensation.

E. Cash Loss of Benefits - If Social Security, veteran's retirement, railroad retirement, pension/retirement, disability, or court ordered child/spousal support is the main source of income and the loss occurs through robbery, assault, rape, homicide, kidnapping, or burglary, you may be compensated within certain limits.

F. Funeral Expenses - If you paid or are liable to pay the funeral bill for a deceased victim, you may be compensated for your loss, within certain limits.

G. What expenses will NOT be reimbursed to victims?

1. Pain and suffering

2. Stolen or damaged property

3. Auto-related injuries unless inflicted in a DUI crash or by a vehicle used as a weapon.