South Carolina is sometimes considered to be a backward state when it comes to protecting you from creditor claims. One area that South Carolina has been a leader is the protection of Crime Victim Awards. This makes sense as a Crime Victim Award is not something that everyone who is injured as a result of a crime receives an award. You will have to suffer some serious loss or injury before you can hope to receive an award.
YES, SOUTH CAROLINA LAW EXEMPTS A CRIME VICTIM COMPENSATION FROM THE CLAIMS OF CREDITORS AND DEBT COLLECTORS
This exemption applies whether you are worried about a creditor or debt collector taking you to court in a South Carolina Court or in a Bankruptcy Case.
What this means to you is that the creditor or debt collector calling you and telling you that they are going to take your money is wrong. Do not be intimidated by the debt collector or creditor into sending them money from your Crime Victim Award. If you voluntarily send a payment from your Crime Victim Award, you may not be able to get the money back.
WHAT IF THE CREDITOR OR BILL COLLECTOR LIES TO ME ABOUT MY CRIME VICTIM AWARD BEING EXEMPT TO MAKE ME SEND A PAYMENT TO THEM?
If a creditor or bill collector lies or misrepresents this fact, then you may be able to sue the creditor or bill collector. This type of action is often handled by an attorney without you having to pay attorney’s fees unless you win. You will have to pay costs that may be incurred, but, those are something that you can usually afford to pay.
WHAT IF THE CREDITOR OR DEBT COLLECTOR IS NOT FROM SOUTH CAROLINA?
Most of the time, the controlling law is not, where the creditor is located, but, where you are living. This means that South Carolina law which protects or exempts your Crime Victim Award will protect you most of the time. There are some exceptions to this rule, but, these exceptions are complex and should be reviewed with an attorney who is experienced in this area of the law.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR MONEY WHEN YOU RECEIVE YOUR CRIME VICTIM AWARD?
The easy answer is to put the money in a separate account from money that you receive from other sources. I have written a post regarding transmutation of money that is protected such as a Crime Victim Award. You should always spend money that is not exempt before you spend your Crime Victim Award.