Can I receive credit from a civil judgment when determining the amount of restitution owed to a victim of crime?

By: Wallin & Klarich

When a person commits a crime, he or she will have to deal with criminal prosecution and a potential civil lawsuit by the alleged victim. Often times when there is a conviction, the victim may seek restitution in the criminal case, even after receiving money from a civil judgment. As such, Courts tend to struggle to determine how much credit a defendant can receive for payments to a victim by an insurance company. Courts look at three different criteria to determine whether or not the defendant is entitled to any credit for payments made by an insurance company.

First, the court may look at who purchased the insurance. For example, if the parent of the defendant purchased the insurance, the defendant will not be given credit for the civil settlement towards any potential restitution obligation.

Second, rather than focus on who purchased the insurance, the Court can focus on whether or not the defendant was listed in those documents. If so, then defendant can receive credit since the defendant received a benefit
Third, the Court may offer the defendant credit by reviewing the insurance policy and determining if the insurer was really the defendant’s insurer.

To make matters worse, the law in California allows an insurer to not be liable for a loss caused by the willful act of the insured. In other words, the State will not allow an insurer to pay for harm caused by an intentional crime. For example, if a person intentionally sexually molests another person, the insurer would not be required to pay for the loss suffered by the alleged victim and the defendant would be left to foot the bill at a restitution hearing.

If you or a loved one is charged with crime it is important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can navigate you through the difficulties of a restitution hearing. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in handling restitution hearings. Our attorneys will fully inform you of your options as they navigate through the complex court system for you. Call us today at (888) 280-6839 or visit us at We will be there when you call.

Posted In: Criminal Defense