Have you or a loved one been a victim of a crime? Well the state of Tennessee has a way of helping you out. Tennessee Treasury department has set up a Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund. This fund was originally created in 1976 and is made up of fines, penalties, and fees paid by criminals in state and federal courts. Read below to find out if you or your loved one meets that requirements to receive compensation for their injuries.
Who is qualified and eligible for aid from the State of Tennessee Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund?
In order to qualify for relief from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund you must be:
- The victim of the crime;
- A dependent of a deceased victim;
- The administrator of the victim’s estate;
- Someone who was injured trying to prevent a crime or apprehend the criminal;
- A relative responsible for funeral or burial costs;
- A relative of a homicide victim who has received mental health counseling;
- A victim’s child who has received counseling as a result of witnessing domestic violence against the victim;
- The sibling or parent of a victim of child sex abuse who has received counseling as a result of the offender’s abuse of the victim.
If you are qualified to apply, you must also be eligible. In order to be eligible, the following must have occurred:
- The crime was reported within 48 hours to authorities unless good cause is shown for the delay;
- The crime must happen in Tennessee;
- The victim’s action cannot contribute to the crime;
- The victim/claimant must cooperate with police and efforts to prosecute;
- An application must be filed within one year of the date of injury or death;
- There must be an eligible expense.
What is the procedure to recover from the fund?
If you are eligible and qualify the next question might be “what’s next” or “what is the process?” Here is the procedure for a claim for compensation:
Procedure for a claim:
MUST be one year after the occurrence of the crime, the death of the victim, or any mental or physical manifestation or injury
diagnosed as a result of an act committed against a minor UNLESS good
cause can be shown.
- The report of the crime must have been made within 48 hours after the occurrence of the crime unless for good cause such as the victim is physically unable; the victim is a victim of sexual assault; or the victim is a victim of domestic abuse.
- The victim/claimant shall fill out a form that is designed for the filing of claims for compensation and file it with the Division of Claims Administration in person or by mail. This form can be found here.
- Within 10 days the division shall notify the district attorney general. If prosecution is pending or imminent for the crime upon which the claim is based the division shall suspend all action on the claim and district attorney general shall have 10 days to respond after the completion of any prosecution.
- Unless the claim is suspended, the division shall investigate every claim and shall honor or deny each claim within ninety (90) days.
- After receipt of a completed claim form and documentation, as well as receipt of the prosecutor’s report, the Division determines whether the claim is compensable and, if so, issues payment as allowed by statute.
What expenses are covered and what expenses are not?
The following are examples of expenses that can be recovered:
- Expenses actually and reasonably incurred as a result of the personal injury or death of the victim such as medical services, funeral and burial expenses;
- Permanent partial disability or permanent total disability;
- Travel expenses to and from the trial up to $1,250 for all such travel;
- Reasonable out of pocket expenses incurred for cleaning supplies, equipment rental and labor needed to clean the scent of a homicide, sexual assault or aggravate assault;
- The loss of financial support to the dependents of a deceased victim;
- Loss of wages;
The following expenses cannot be recovered:
- Travel to the doctor appointments;
- Costs from identity theft or fraud;
- Wages lost by anyone except the victim;
- Moving expense such as deposits, rent, breaking a lease, and utility bills;
- Lost, stolen, or damaged property except eyeglasses, dental devices, and some medically-related devices;
- Any expenses that are or will be paid by any other public or private resources.
While being a victim of a crime can lead to subsequent financial uncertainty, the state of Tennessee does have procedures set in place for you to recover compensation. That being said, if you are a victim in need of a lawyer, do not hesitate to call us at Collins Law Firm.