Which type of crime can I get compensation for?
If you (or a close relative) are the victim of a crime in Finland, you may be paid compensation from State funds for the damage caused by the crime. The right to compensation is not limited by the nature of the crime.
If criminal damage has been caused by the use of a motor vehicle in traffic, the compensation will primarily be paid out from the insurance policy on the vehicle that caused the damage, pursuant to the Motor Liability Insurance Act (liikennevakuutuslaki).
Which type of injury can I get compensation for?
Compensation may be paid out for personal injury and suffering caused by a crime.
'Personal injury' means disruption to one's state of health that can be verified by medical means. Such disruption could be physical or psychological.
'Suffering', on the other hand, means a feeling of mental anguish caused by the event in question and which does not require medically proven disruption to one's state of health.
Can I get compensation if I'm a relative or dependant of a victim who has died as a result of a crime? Which relatives or dependants can get compensation?
You may be entitled to compensation if a close relative has died as a result of a crime. 'Close relative' means the parent, child or spouse of the deceased, or another person particularly close to the deceased.
If you have shouldered the responsibility for burying a person who has died as a result of a crime, you are entitled to compensation for reasonable costs incurred for the burial.
Can I get compensation if I'm a relative or dependant of a victim who has survived? Which relatives or dependants can get compensation in this case?
If a person who is particularly close to you has been the victim of a crime, you may be compensated for the reasonable, essential costs and loss of earnings incurred for your care of that person. 'Close relative' means the parent, child or spouse of the person who has suffered a personal injury, or another similarly close person.
Can I get compensation if I'm not a national of an EU country?
If you have been a victim of a crime in Finland, you will generally have the right to compensation regardless of your nationality or where you live. Compensation may be refused, however, if your home was not in an EU country at the time of the crime or at the time when compensation was claimed and if the damage otherwise has a minor connection with Finland.
Can I claim compensation from this country if I live here or am from here (this is the country of my residence or nationality) even if the crime was committed in another EU country? Could I do this instead of claiming compensation in the country where the crime took place? If so, under what conditions?
If you have a place of residence in Finland, you can also receive compensation in some circumstances for personal injury and suffering caused by a crime committed abroad.
Compensation may be paid out if your stay abroad was for work, study or another similar reason. Compensation may also be granted on a discretionary basis in other cases involving damage sustained abroad. In such cases, the factors to be considered will include what the connection is between the crime and Finland, the closeness of the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim of the crime, the nature of the damage, and your options for obtaining compensation elsewhere.
Do I have to have reported the crime to the police first, to be able to claim compensation?
You must report the crime to the police. If the crime has not been reported or the police have not otherwise been made aware of the crime, compensation may only be paid out for special reasons.
Do I have to await the outcome of any police investigations or criminal proceedings before I can claim?
You may submit a claim for compensation before the preliminary investigation has been completed or the court proceedings have ended. However, your claim may only be decided upon once the preliminary investigation has been completed. If charges have been brought, the matter may generally only be decided upon once the criminal case and compensation claims have been ruled upon by the court.
Do I have to first seek compensation from the offender – if they have been identified?
If the criminal case is heard by a court, you should endeavour to have your right to compensation upheld by means of a judgment. This means that you should present a claim for compensation against the offender during the court proceedings. Compensation for criminal damage is not generally paid out if you have failed to fulfil this obligation.
If the offender has not been identified or convicted, can I still qualify for compensation? If so, what evidence do I need to present to support my claim?
You may apply for compensation even if the offender has not been identified. You must enclose a copy of the police record from the preliminary investigation, or other reliable evidence of the events, with your compensation claim.
Is there a time limit within which I have to claim compensation?
You must apply for compensation within three years of the date on which a judgment with legal force is issued concerning the compensation case. If the case has not been heard in court, compensation must be claimed within ten years of the date on which the crime was committed. There is only flexibility with these deadlines in special circumstances.
Which losses and expenses are covered by the compensation?
For example, does it cover the following?
a) For the victim of the offence:
– Material (non-psychological) damage:
- medical costs of injury (medical treatment – ambulant and hospital treatment, recovery) -medical costs are covered.
- additional needs or costs arising from injury (i.e. care and assistance, temporary and permanent treatment, prolonged education physiotherapy, adaptation of housing, special aids, etc.) -other essential costs are covered.
- permanent injury (e.g. invalidity and other permanent handicaps)
- loss of earnings during medical treatment and after (including lost earnings and loss of ability to earn or diminished maintenance, etc.) - loss of earnings is covered at no more than EUR 150 a day.
- loss of opportunity - when determining the compensation, consideration may also be given in special circumstances to the potential development in the applicant's earnings (for example in the case of a person injured when young).
- expenses linked to legal proceedings related to the incident causing the damage (such as legal fees, court costs) - reasonable compensation may be paid out for legal costs if the compensation case was heard by a court and you have sustained other damage that needs to be compensated for.
- compensation for stolen or damaged personal property - customary personal effects (e.g. spectacles, wristwatch and mobile telephone) that are damaged in conjunction with the personal injury are covered.
- in other cases, compensation for damage to objects and other property is only paid out under special conditions.
– Psychological (moral) damage:
- pain and suffering of the victim - covered.
- temporary psychological problems
- mental suffering, if damage has been caused
- in the event of sexual crime
- in the event of other crimes against freedom
- in the event of a crime that has violated the personal integrity of the victim in a particularly severe way
b) For entitled people or relatives of a victim:
– Material (non-psychological) damage:
- funeral costs - funeral costs such as those incurred for acquiring a coffin, burial plot and gravestone and for organising a memorial event are covered. As a particularly close person, you may also receive compensation for costs incurred for participation in the funeral (cost of travel to the funeral, floral arrangement and mourning clothes).
- medical costs (e.g. therapy for a family member, ambulant and hospital treatment, rehabilitation) - if the death of a close relative caused you a personal injury, you may be paid compensation for medical costs incurred as a result of that injury, as well as other essential costs and loss of earnings. A limit is set for the compensation, which is a maximum amount of EUR 6 000 (in 2018).
- loss of maintenance or of opportunity - if you were a dependant of the deceased, you may be paid compensation for the loss of maintenance.
– Psychological damage:
- pain and suffering of relatives or entitled people/compensation to survivors if the victim died - no compensation is paid to the close relatives of a crime victim for temporary problems or mental anguish.
Is the compensation paid out in a single payment or monthly instalments?
Compensation is generally paid out as a single payment, with the exception of continuous compensation for loss of earnings and loss of maintenance. Those types of compensation are most often paid out in the form of repeated, monthly payments.
In what way could my own behaviour in relation to the crime, my criminal record or failure to cooperate during the compensation proceedings affect my chance of receiving compensation, and/or the amount I receive?
The amount of compensation to be awarded may be reduced if you have contributed to causing the injury through your own actions. For example, a reduction may be made if you started a fight that resulted in you being injured. On the other hand, any criminal record that you might have will not affect your chance of receiving compensation or the amount you receive.
In order to receive compensation, you must send the documents requested by the State Treasury (Valtiokonttori) so that your criminal-injury case can be processed. Your compensation claim may be rejected if you do not submit the necessary evidence.
In what way could my financial situation affect my chance of receiving compensation and/or the amount?
As a general rule, your financial situation does not affect whether you will receive compensation or the amount of compensation to be paid out.
When the compensation decision is made, your financial situation is only taken into account if you have applied for compensation for considerable damage to items or to your finances on the grounds that you were helpless to prevent the damage from occurring.
Are there any other criteria that could affect my chance of receiving compensation and/or the amount?
If the compensation case is heard by a court, compensation is generally paid out in accordance with the court ruling. If the State Treasury deviates from the ruling handed down by the court in the compensation case, it will provide justification of the reasons for such deviation for you in its decision.
The offender will be obliged to pay you the compensation ordered by the court. The right to obtain compensation from the offender will, however, be transferred to the State to the extent that the State Treasury has awarded you compensation.
How will the compensation be calculated?
Medical costs and other costs are compensated for if they are essential and have a causal relationship with the damage or injury caused.
When determining the amount of compensation to be paid out for aches, pains and other temporary problems, consideration is given to the nature and severity of the damage or injury caused to you as well as the prevailing compensation practices. The amount of compensation to be paid out may not exceed the upper limit defined by law.
'Suffering' means the feeling of personal anguish caused to you as a result of an illegal offence. The compensation to be paid out will be determined based on the nature of the act in question. The amount of compensation will also be subject to the compensation limits defined by law.
An estimate of the earnings that you would have received if the crime had not been committed is taken as the starting point for determining any loss of earnings. Any income and benefits that you have received or could have received regardless of the damage or injury are deducted from that amount. The amount of compensation to be paid out may not exceed the maximum daily amount defined by law.
A basic deduction is made from the total amount of compensation for problems and suffering to be awarded. The amount of the basic deduction is EUR 220 for a crime committed in 2018.No interest is paid on the compensation awarded.
Is there a minimum/maximum amount that can be awarded?
There is no minimum amount that can be awarded.
The total amount of compensation that you may be paid for personal injury and suffering caused by a crime is a maximum of EUR 61 500. Moreover:
- the compensation to be paid for aches, pains and other temporary problems may be no more than EUR 12 000;
- the maximum compensation to be paid for suffering is EUR 3 600; nevertheless, the maximum compensation to be paid for the suffering of victims of sexual crime is EUR 9 500, or EUR 16 200 if the victim was under eighteen years of age at the time of the crime;
- the compensation to be paid to a close relative of a deceased person is generally a maximum of EUR 6 000;
- the compensation to be paid for loss of earnings may be no more than EUR 150 a day.
The maximum compensation for each injury or damage does not apply to compensation for loss of earnings or maintenance when that compensation is paid on a continuous basis.
The maximum amount of compensation for damage to possessions and financial damage is EUR 31 000.
The maximum amounts of compensation to be paid to crime victims and the amount of the basic deduction are checked at three-year intervals. The next time that the amounts will be checked is at the beginning of 2021.
Am I expected to quote the amount in the claim form? If so, do I get any instructions on how to calculate it or on other aspects?
The amount of compensation awarded may not be more than the amount you claim. You may claim reasonable compensation where necessary. You may also refer to the amounts confirmed in the court ruling that forms the basis for your compensation claim.
Where necessary, you can obtain advice concerning your criminal-injury case from our customer-service team and from the person processing your compensation claim.
Will any compensation I receive for my loss from other sources (such as my employer's or a private insurance scheme) be deducted from compensation paid by the authority/body?
The compensation to be paid from public funds is secondary. This means that you should apply for compensation elsewhere to begin with, for example from your health-insurance policy and insurance company. This compensation will be deducted from the compensation to be awarded to you.
Can I get an advance on the compensation? If so, under what conditions?
You may submit a written application for an advance compensation payment where necessary. An advance compensation payment may be made if the processing of your compensation case is delayed for reasons beyond your control and you are entitled to a significant amount of compensation.
Can I get complementary or additional compensation (following e.g. a change in circumstances or worsening health etc.) after the main decision?
The State Treasury will re-examine the case if new evidence emerges. You may be awarded compensation that was previously refused, or a larger amount of compensation, on the basis of the new evidence.
What supporting documents do I need to include with my claim?
- A valid power of attorney, if the attorney is someone other than a legal adviser or lawyer. A personal power of attorney is also required if you want the compensation due to you, as the applicant, to be paid to someone other than yourself;
- Evidence of the burial costs claimed for, and the estate inventory deed and powers of attorney where necessary;
- A copy of the ruling handed down by the court, or a copy of the police record of the preliminary investigation if there is no ruling;
- Doctor's statement or medical report;
- Evidence of all costs claimed for, if the case has not been heard by a court;
- If claiming for loss of earnings, a doctor's statement attesting to your incapacity for work, a copy of the sickness-allowance decision, and evidence of the salary paid by your employer and the amount of earnings lost;
- Any decisions and evidence of compensation received from a health-insurance policy, insurance company or elsewhere;
- If claiming for legal expenses, the lawyer's wage calculation and any compensation decision by the insurance company;
- If claiming for application costs, the lawyer's invoice and evidence of the legal aid granted or the legal adviser assigned;
- If claiming for financial damage and damage to possessions to be compensated for on a discretionary basis, evidence of the illness, injury or other incapacitation and financial circumstances suffered as a result of the damage.
Are there administrative or other charges to be paid when the claim is received and processed?
You will not be charged any fees for processing your compensation case.
Which authority decides on compensation claims (in national cases)?
Your compensation claim will be processed by the State Treasury.
Where do I send the claim (in national cases)?
You can either send your claim electronically to email@example.com or print out the form and post it to:
P.O. Box 50
00054 State Treasury, Finland
Do I need to be present during the procedure and/or when my claim is being decided?
The case will be processed by the State Treasury in writing. You will not be asked to appear in person during any stage of the process.
How long does it take (approximately) to receive a decision on a claim for compensation from the authority?
The average processing time is approximately seven months. You can find an up-to-date estimate of processing times on the State Treasury's website.
If I'm not satisfied with the authority's decision, how can I challenge it?
You can appeal in writing to the Insurance Court (Vakuutusoikeus) against a compensation decision that you have received within 30 days of the date when you were made aware of the decision. Guidelines on how to appeal are enclosed with the State Treasury's compensation decision.
Where can I get the necessary forms and other information on how to claim?
You can find the form for claiming compensation and further information about claiming on the State Treasury's website at http://www.valtiokonttori.fi/ You can also contact our customer-service team on +358 295 50 2736 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there a special helpline or website I can use?
You can find further information about compensation for criminal damage at http://www.valtiokonttori.fi/ You can also telephone the State Treasury if you need to. You can get help by calling +358 295 50 2736.
Can I get legal aid (help from a lawyer) when preparing the claim?
You can use a lawyer to claim compensation if you want to. However, you can only be paid compensation for the costs arising from making the claim if:
- you have been granted legal aid or assigned a legal adviser for the hearing of the case by a court; or
- the case has not been heard by a court but you satisfy the financial requirements for obtaining legal aid.
Are there any victim support organisations that can help me claim compensation?
You can get advice and support from Victim Support Finland (Rikosuhripäivystys) (RIKU), for example. You can find this organisation's contact details on its website at http://www.riku.fi/
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Last update: 21/01/2019