Many crime victims do not realize they have a right to recover restitution for their out of pocket losses. Oregon Law allows crime victims to recover "economic damages" that were a result of the criminal's activity. ORS 137.106(1). This typically means that crime victims and survivors can recover out of pocket losses that were a result of the criminal's behavior. Economic damages are typically hospital bills, surgery bills, mental health bills, property damage bills, and past lost wages. Economic damages are not things like embarrassment, pain, suffering, and humiliation.
There are different avenues for victims and survivors to recover damages for pain, suffering, humiliation, embarrassment, etc. However these types of damages are not part of criminal restitution, and most victims and survivors will have to use the civil court to obtain full compensation for their harms and losses.
However, the term "economic damages" is often disputed by defendants that do not want to pay victims for all of the harms and losses they cause. Recently Oregon's Supreme Court clarified victim restitution issues with their ruling of State v. Ramos. The Court noted that a defendant is responsible for all economic damages that are a result of the criminal activity. The court addressed whether or not 1) that damages are limited to harms that result from reasonably foreseeable risks and 2) whether or not attorney fees and litigation costs are generally not recoverable as restitution unless authorized by statute or contract.
The Ramos Court concluded, "reasonable foreseeability is a limiting concept that applies to an award of economic damages under ORS 137.106." What this means in layman's terms is that the economic damages must "result from" a defendant's criminal activity in the "but for" sense and must be a reasonably foreseeable result of the defendant's criminal activities. The court also determined that in some cases that a victim or survivor's attorney fees and litigation costs may be recovered as part of criminal restitution. This case is a good tool for prosecutors to assist victims and survivors obtaining restitution.
If you or someone you know have are a crime victim and have medical bills, mental health bills, property bills, or have suffered harms, losses, embarrassment, humiliation, pain, or suffering as a result of another's conduct, please call Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658. Please remember the law is constantly changing. Call a lawyer or ROSS LAW instead of relying solely on this post or the law cited in this post.