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Can The Indiana Violent Crime Victim Compensation Fund Help You Or Your Clients? Q&A

William W. Hurst – Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer

What is the Victim Compensation Fund and can it help you or your clients? Many people have no idea the Victim’s Compensation Fund exists, nor do they know its purpose, so this article will start by telling you what it is and how it’s funded. Then it’ll explain who qualifies to receive an award from it, how much they are entitled to, what kinds of expenses can be claimed under it, who gets the money, how claimants apply, and finally the effects any such award may have on a personal injury claim.

What Is The Indiana Victim Compensation Fund?

The Indiana Violent Crime Victim Compensation Fund, or as it’ll be referred to in this article The Indiana Victim Compensation ActVictims Compensation Fund, was established in 1978 to help aid the victims of violent crimes such as drunk driving accidents or domestic violence with the financial hardships experienced in getting treatment, psychiatric care, missing work, and other consequences of being a victim of violent crimes. The fund itself allows victims of these violent crimes to apply through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute for an award to cover these costs or expenses, later we’ll look at how much someone may receive and who exactly is entitled to receive it.

How is the Indiana Victim Compensation Fund Funded?

According to Indiana Code § 5-2-6.1-41 the Victim Compensation Fund is made up of amounts deposited under IC 5-2-6.3-6(b)(3), IC 11-10-7-5, IC 11-10-8-6, IC 33-37-7-9, IC 34-51-3-6, and IC 35-50-5-3. So, you’re probably saying thanks for the letters and numbers, but what do any of them mean. Well luckily this section of the article is going to elaborate on just that, so let’s begin.

Indiana Code § 5-2-6.3-6(b)(3) and the section in its entirety deals with income the responsible party has derived or contracted for by publicizing his/her crime. As a general rule we don’t allow people to profit from their crimes, so it makes sense that if they enter into such an agreement the income they earn as a result would be taken. The specific subsection that funds the Victim Compensation Fund allows some of this money to flow into the fund after any civil damages award has been paid out and the state has been reimbursed for its expenses prosecuting the crime.

Indiana Code § 11-10-7-5(a)(5) provides that 10% of any income earned by an incarcerated individual from a private employer will be deposited into the Victims Compensation Fund.

Indiana Code § 11-10-8-6(a)(3) provides that 10% of any income earned by an individual incarcerated in a minimum security prison on a work release program will be deposited into the Victims Compensation Fund.

Indiana Code § 33-37-7-9 provides for a state funded amount to be deposited into the fund.

Indiana Code § 34-51-3-6 provides that 75% of any punitive damages award is to be deposited to the fund while the other 25% goes to the plaintiff.

Indiana Code § 35-50-5-3 provides that certain amount of restitution orders in cases involving violent crimes may be used to reimburse funds paid out by the fund.

When Is Someone Entitled to Compensations?

Indiana code § 5-2-6.1-17 requires the violent crime to have been reported within 72 hours of the crime occurring. Additionally, an award cannot be given until law enforcement records are available and any criminal investigation has been substantially completed.

For incidents involving car accidents, compensation cannot be afforded until the indictment has been filed by a prosecuting attorney.

Who Can Receive An Award From The Victims Compensation Fund?

In accordance with Indiana Code § 5-2-6.1-12 the following people are eligible for assistance from the fund:

  • A resident of Indiana who is a victim of a Violent Crime (defined below) committed
    • In Indiana; or
    • In a jurisdiction that does not have a program similar to the Victims Compensation Fund.Indiana Victim Compensation Fund
  • A non-resident of Indiana who is a victim of a violent crime in Indiana.
  • A surviving spouse of dependent child of a victim of a violent crime who died as a result of that crime.
  • Any other person legally dependent on principal support from a violent crime victim who died as a result of the violent crime.
  • A person injured or killed while
    • Trying to prevent a violent crime or attempted violent crime in their presence; or
    • While trying to apprehend someone who committed a violent crime
  • A surviving spouse or dependent child of someone who dies as a result of
    • Trying to prevent a violent crime; or
    • While trying to apprehend a person who had committed a violent crime.
  • A person legally dependent on support from a person who died as a result of
    • Trying to prevent a violent crime; or
    • While trying to apprehend a person who had committed a violent crime.
  • A person who is injured or killed while giving aid and assistance to
    • A law enforcement officer in the performance of the officer’s lawful duties; or
    • A member of a fire department who is being obstructed from performing lawful duties.

Violent crimes as relevant here are defined by Indiana Code § 5-2-6.1-8 to include A crime under the Indiana Code that is a felony or Class A misdemeanor that results in bodily injury or wrongful death to the victim (e.g., drunk driving accidents that cause injury), excluding certain sections of the Indiana Code, a similar offense in another state, or a terrorist act.

There are additional restrictions on who may recover from the fund, including:

  • Participants in Crime/Incarcerated Individuals/Profiteers may not recover, including:
    • Participants in a criminal act who were injured during the criminal act.
    • Anyone housed in a county, city, or federal jail or prison, or an institution operated by the department of corrections
    • Anyone who profited or would have profited from the criminal act.
    • A victim who was intoxicated and contributed to the commission of an unrelated felony.
    • *** These restrictions do not apply where a dependent child of one of these people is making the claim and justice so requires the compensation be awarded.
  • Persons worth more than $200,000 may not recover

How Much Are Victims Entitled To From The Fund?

In accordance with Indiana Code § 5-2-6.1-35 an award to a claimant cannot exceed $15,000 and may not cover the first $100 of expenses.

What Expenses Can Be Claimed?

Indiana Code § 5-2-6.1-21.1 tells us which losses are compensable under the Victim Compensation Fund. First, it’s important to note that the first $100 in expenses are not compensable. These are the expenses that may be claimed under the fund:

  • Within 180 days only (unless extended under (g)):
    • Medical, chiropractic, hospital, dental, optometric, and ambulance services;Indiana Victim Compensation Fund
    • Prescription drugs; and
    • prosthetic devise
  • Loss of income
  • Emergency Shelter Expenses
  • Child Care Expenses ($1,000 max) that would have been provided by the victim had the crime not occurred
  • Loss of financial support the victim would have supplied to dependent claimants
  • Funeral, burial, or cremation expenses ($5,000 max)
  • Other expenses determined to be reasonable by the division.

Who Gets the Money?

Generally, the claimant, whether they be the victim or a dependent, gets the money. There are, however, any amount covering an unpaid bill shall be paid to the service provider under Indiana Code § 5-2-6.1-35.

How To Apply

To apply the victim, claimant, or representative need simply visit the Victim Compensation Fund Application website at the link provided.

In the alternative the applications may be hand delivered or faxed to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute at:

101 W. Washington Street, Suite 1170 East, Indianapolis, IN 46204

                OR

Fax: 317-233-3912.

What Are The Effects of Such An Award On A Personal Injury Claim?

First, receiving an award from the Victim Compensation Fund does not bar you from making a personal injury claim. It does, however, create a subrogation right in the name of the Victim Compensation Fund for any civil award you may receive whether it be by settlement or verdict according to Indiana Code § 5-2-6.1-22 and § 5-2-6.1-23.

Seek Help From An Experienced Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one was the victim of a violent crime contact our office today by calling (317) 636-0808 or filling out a contact form for a free consultation. Making a personal injury claim for these types of accidents is time sensitive, so act fast so that we can take the weight of making a claim off your shoulders and ensure you are fully compensated for your injuries. ¡Hablamos Español!

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FAQs
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It cost $0 up front to hire our office. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay us if we settle your case or obtain a verdict on your behalf.

If we’re unable to obtain a settlement of verdict for you we eat the costs we’ve advanced to litigate your case, which includes costs for ordering medical records, filing your case, hiring experts, deposing witnesses, and many other things.

If we do settle your case or obtain a verdict for you our standard rate is 33% of the settlement or verdict, plus reimbursement for the expense we’ve previously advanced. Our fee never increases like some personal injury attorneys, even if we have to take your case to trial.

Our Fees

It cost $0 up front to hire our office. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay us if we settle your case or obtain a verdict on your behalf.

If we’re unable to obtain a settlement of verdict for you we eat the costs we’ve advanced to litigate your case, which includes costs for ordering medical records, filing your case, hiring experts, deposing witnesses, and many other things.

If we do settle your case or obtain a verdict for you our standard rate is 33% of the settlement or verdict, plus reimbursement for the expense we’ve previously advanced. Our fee never increases like some personal injury attorneys, even if we have to take your case to trial.

Case Worth

As a victim, establishing damages, negotiating with the insurance company, or filing a lawsuit can be daunting and next to impossible without the assistance of an experienced lawyer. As a result, if you have been hurt in an accident, it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to help you recover the compensation to which you are entitled under Indiana law.

Why Hire?

Choosing an attorney that has experience dealing with personal injury law is important to protect your legal rights. If you are trying to recover damages from a business or other type of organization, you can bet that they are going to have a legal team on their side.

Medical Bills

If you were injured by an accident you may be struggling to determine who is responsible for paying your medical bills and holding them accountable. Speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer at The Law Office of William W. Hurst and learn if we may be able to help.

Recovery

After you have been injured, you are entitled to compensation. The type and amount of compensation depends on the injury, bills, the cause of the injury, negligence/bad faith of the defendant, etc. The attorney you retain can also heavy influence your recovery through knowledge, experience, and dedication. Legal terms and phrases can be confusing even after you retain an attorney. If you have been injured, you may wonder how much your case is worth or what your “damages” are. The worse the injuries, the higher the value of the case and the greater need for an experienced attorney