Are you Eligible for Payment from Florida’s Crimes Compensation Fund?
Matthew Williams, Associate
01 June 2018
If you or your loved were hit by someone who was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may apply to receive compensation from Florida’s Crimes Compensation Fund. Few people are aware, but Florida’s Crimes Compensation Act was passed to provide financial compensation to people who are victims of crimes, including victims of DUI accidents. In other words, anyone who suffered physical injury (or the survivor of a victim killed) as a result of a criminal act is eligible for compensation. Particularly important is the application of this law to DUI and ‘hit and run’ accidents.
What type of assistance does the Act cover?
- Lost wages
- loss of support by deceased victim
- Funeral or burial expenses
- Medical bills or other treatment expenses
- Mental health counseling
- Property loss (e.g. damages to your car)
Who is eligible to receive compensation funds?
- The applicant must have suffered personal injury or death of a relative;
- Funds are limited for purely psychological trauma.
- The applicant must cooperate with law enforcement, the State Attorney’s office and/or the Attorney General’s Office;
- The applicant must not have contributed to the crime in any way;
- The applicant must not have a felony conviction on record; and
- The application must be filed within one year after the date of the incident.
How do I apply for compensation?
- The application for compensation can be obtained from your local state attorney, victim advocate office, or by calling Victim Services Information.
- You can also contact an attorney to assist you with the application process.
You should know the maximum grant for each crime victim is $25,000 (subject to change). Applying for compensation is thought of as a “last resort” initiative because funds are approved only after victims have exhausted all other payment sources, such as health insurance and donations from fundraising websites. In most cases, the victim must demonstrate that a deficit still remains even after exhausting all other payment sources.
For drunk driving cases, it is imperative that you keep records of your injuries. You must also do your best to obtain evidence that the other driver was under the influence, or you can consult an attorney to represent you to help you with this process.
If you have been the victim of a crime and you have any questions about victim’s rights, the application process or the Florida Crimes Compensation Act in general, feel free to give me a call at 850.383.0000. I can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.