restitution payment

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Definition - What does restitution payment mean?

Restitution payment is the amount in punitive damages an offender is required to compensate or pay to a victim who has incurred financial hardship related to a crime. The circumstances surrounding the nature of offense is usually proportionate to the restitution payments levied on the offender. For instance, violent crimes can impose medical and/or personal expenses to the victim including counseling sessions, rehabilitation treatment, lost earnings/wages from work, and replacement of damaged and/or stolen property.

SureHire explains restitution payment

Many variables exist that contribute to restitution payments accommodating the financial needs of the victim who suffers from the commission of a crime. In addition to jail sentencing, the judicial system upholds restitution payments as a viable form of punishment with the goal of instilling in criminals a sense of fiduciary responsibility to their victims. Restitution is exacted in recognition of victims whose ability to resume normal life activities is disrupted by the infliction of physical harm combined with destruction and/or theft of personal assets.

State laws set different parameters based on the type of crime committed and all involved parties including offenders and victims to determine the amount necessary for restitution. For instance, victims who sustain multiple injuries might have insurance coverage to pay a majority, if not all, medical expenses. However, some states can order the offender to make restitution payments back to the insurance company as a means to cancel out the total amount billed to the insurer.

While restitution is a legal penalty designed to help victims reclaim financial losses, defendants tend to lack commensurate resources and income to meet their debts to society. As a result, many state officials have polarizing opinions over the fact that victims do not receive consistent (if any) payments from offenders while, in the balance, defendants struggle to acquire jobs.

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