Crime Victims Reparations
Basic Qualification Requirements
The crime must occur in Louisiana or the crime must involve a Louisiana resident who becomes a victim in another state that does not have a crime victim compensation program for which the victim would be eligible.
Filing for Compensation
The application must be filed within a year of the crime unless there is a good reason why the application was not submitted within this time period.
The victim and/or claimant must cooperate fully with law enforcement officials in the investigation and prosecution of the case.
Who May Qualify
An innocent victim of a violent crime who suffers physical and/or emotional harm or death or catastrophic property loss.
A person who legally assumes the obligations or voluntarily pays certain expenses related to the crime on behalf of the victim.
Immediate family members needing counseling as a result of the consequence of the death of the victim.
Who is Not Eligible
A victim whose own behavior contributed to the crime (in those cases, benefits may be reduced or denied).
A victim or claimant who was engaged in illegal activity at the time of the crime.
An offender or an accomplice of the offender.
Anyone who was incarcerated in a penal institution when the crime occurred.
Victims of motor vehicle accidents except those listed below (“What Crimes are Covered”).
What Crimes Are Covered
Crimes that involve the use of force or the threat of the use of force and result in personal injury, death or catastrophic property loss, and those victims of human trafficking.
Only these motor vehicle-related crimes: DWI, Hit and Run, the victim of a driver who is fleeing apprehension by law enforcement, or a victim whose injuries were intentionally inflicted with a vehicle, are eligible.
What Expenses are Eligible
Reimbursement for property damage or loss is not an eligible expense. Approved claims may be awarded compensation for the following only if they are related to the crime (Some expenses are limited):
Reasonable medical and prescription expenses
Mental health counseling
Loss of earnings or support
Child care or dependent
Crime Scene cleanup (eff. 8/15/2010)
Reasonable replacement costs for items or items were taken as evidence or made unusable as a result of the criminal investigation.
Forensic Medical Exams
Relocation Expenses (eff. 8/01/2022)
What Expenses are Not Eligible
Expenses which may not be reimbursed for any reason include:
Property losses except for a catastrophic property loss which is limited to the loss of your current residence provided it is owned and occupied by the victim/claimant.
Pain and Suffering
Attorney fees except when they are part of an order from a hearing or award by a court of law.
Limits on Awards
Total recovery may not exceed $15,000 unless the victim suffered total and permanent disability. Victims who suffer total permanent disability as a result of their victimization may qualify for up to $25,000.
Recoveries from Other Sources
The Crime Victims Reparations Fund is regarded as the “payer of last resort.” It is a secondary source that pays for certain out-of-pocket expenses related to the crime that the victim has no other way to pay. Other sources that have to pay first include:
- HMO/health insurance
- Disability insurance/life insurance
- Vacation time, sick leave or other types of leave paid by an employer
- Worker’s compensation benefits
- Social security
- Medicare or Medicaid
The staff of the Crime Victims Reparations Program will work with victims and claimants to make sure all available resources, including the fund, work in the best interest of victims.
Victims/claimants of a sexual-related offense may or may not file with their insurance.
If, as a part of a criminal sentence, the court orders an offender to make restitution to the victim for an expense which the Crime Victims Compensation has already paid, the victim may be required to reimburse the fund. If the victim or claimant recovers money as a settlement in a civil suit against the offender or a third party, the victim or claimant may have to reimburse the fund for expenses already paid by the fund.
Application and Claim Forms
Applications are also available from all Louisiana sheriffs’ offices. The victim reparations coordinators provide assistance to victims who ask for help in filling out application forms. Victims may also get an application directly from the Crime Victims Reparations Office by calling 1-888-6-VICTIM (nationwide).
How the Application is Reviewed
After receiving an application and related documentation including a complete offense report, the sheriff s office in the parish where the crime occurred reviews the information to see if the crime, the victim, and/or claimant are eligible for the program. This process involves verifying all the information presented in the application. Witnesses to the crime, law enforcement officers, and prosecutors involved in investigating and prosecuting the crime, physicians, counselors, hospitals, and employers may be contacted for additional information. A decision about whether the victim or claimant is eligible is usually made within 30 to 45 days. The sheriff’s office works with the victim or claimant to review expenses incurred as a result of the crime and determine which ones are eligible for reimbursement or payment.
The Right to Appeal a Decision
If the Crime Victims Reparations Board makes a decision with which the victim or claimant disagrees, the victim or the claimant has a right under the law to ask that the decision be reconsidered. The victim or claimant must notify the Crime Victims Reparations Board of the reason for their dissatisfaction and provide additional information in this reconsideration process. If the outcome of the reconsideration process is not satisfactory, an appeal may be made to the district court.
For More Information:
Call the Crime Victims Reparations Board
Toll-free 1-888-6-VICTIM (Nationwide)
Or Write to:
Crime Victims Reparations Board
Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement
PO Box 3133
Baton Rouge, LA 70821