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Name: People v. Short
Case #: C055359
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/04/2008

A victim restitution order imposed in a criminal case must be offset by money the victim receives from the employer’s insurer to settle a personal injury action. Short was convicted of causing great bodily injury while driving under the influence. The crime occurred while Short was driving his employer’s vehicle. The victim filed a personal injury civil action against Short and his employer. To settle that lawsuit, the employer’s insurer paid the policy limits of two insurance policies totaling $3 million dollars, and the victim executed a waiver of claim against both Short and his employer. Short then moved to reduce the victim restitution order by the amount of the settlement. The trial court denied the motion, holding that since Short was not the insured and did not pay the insurance premiums, the offset was not legally supportable. The appellate court reversed, holding that the restitution order should have been reduced by the amount of the settlement. The terms of the insurance policy covered Short while he drove his employer’s vehicle, and the insurance settlement listed Short as being released from any claims connected with the collision. The insurance settlement is deemed to be restitution directly from the defendant.