A victim may claim compensation for damage from the offender by way of civil proceedings; the victim may also join the claim for compensation for damage to the criminal prosecution of the offender (‘adhesion proceedings’).
If the offender deliberately does not fulfil the obligation to provide compensation for damage imposed by the court, the person having a claim (the victim) has the right to apply to the court for an enforcement of the obligation. A law, which will become effective on 1 January 2018, also entitles the victims of crimes to request that their right to compensation for damage be satisfied by the state from the funds it has recovered from the offender as property sanctions.
The Czech Republic does not pay advances for any performance arising from the offender’s obligation to provide compensation for damage caused by the crime. The Czech legal system strictly separates the victim’s right to compensation for the damage caused by the offender, which is considered to be a tort liability, and to financial assistance in accordance with Act No 45/2013, on victims of crimes, which serves as a cash benefit from the state provided for the alleviation of the social impact of victimisation.
As stated above, the state does not pay damages in the strict sense of the word (it does not interfere with the property obligations of the offender, does not assume them), but offers victims of crimes financial assistance. In accordance with Act No 45/2013, on victims of crimes, financial assistance may be paid to victims who have incurred statutory minimum damage to health as a result of a crime, victims of sexual crimes against human dignity, tortured children and survivors (from a group defined by law) of those who died as a result of a crime. This assistance is most often provided in amounts ranging from CZK 10 000 (approximately EUR 370) to CZK 200 000 (approximately EUR 7 400) and is calculated either at a statutory flat rate or corresponds to the amount of proven lost earnings and costs of treatment or, where appropriate, the costs of specialised therapy used to alleviate the non-pecuniary harm suffered. The Ministry of Justice decides on applications for the payment of financial assistance, which must be submitted within 2 years from the date when the victim learned of the damage caused by the crime and not later than 5 years from the date of the crime.
The compensation for damage caused by an offender (i.e. tort liability) cannot be claimed if the offender has not been convicted simply because he is unknown, i.e. there is no liable person, or his tort has not been proven, or the offender does not bear criminal liability for his or her actions, i.e. the accused person cannot be held liable for any harm caused by acts that he or she did not commit, which did not have the nature of a crime or for which the accused is not liable. Conversely, however, a person may become entitled to financial assistance from the state (see above) even before the conviction of the offender; the victim is so entitled even if the offender is unknown or if he or she does not bear criminal liability for his or her actions, provided that there is no doubt that the victim has incurred harm by the acts having the nature of a crime (or that the relative of the victim has died as a result).
Act No 45/2013, on victims of crimes, does not allow the Ministry of Justice to provide advances for financial assistance a decision on which is pending; the urgent life needs of victims are addressed in another way, from the system of state social care or support.
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