Victims of violence and their families must deal with the emotional, physical, and financial aftermath of crime. The Louisiana Crime Victims Reparations Fund helps innocent victims and their families pay for the financial cost of crime when they have no other means of paying. The fund is administered by the Crime Victims Reparations Board under the jurisdiction of the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement. The funds to operate the program come from fines and files paid by people who break the law.
Police Social Services will assist you in filing for Crime Victims Reparations. Here is some basic information on the program:
Basic Qualification Requirements
- Residency – 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.
- Reporting the Crime – The crime must be reported to a law enforcement agency within 72 hours after the incident unless there is a good reason why the crime was not reported within this time period.
- 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.
- Cooperation – 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.
- A victim who has/had a felony conviction(s) within five years of the date of the crime, or was serving a sentence or probation in the five years preceding/subsequent to the crime.
- A victim was serving a sentence or on probation.
- 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.
- Only these motor-vehicle-related crimes: DWI, Hit and Run, victim of a driver who is fleeing apprehension by law enforcement, or a victim whose injuries were intentionally inflicted with a vehicle.
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.
- Reasonable medical and prescription expenses
- Dental expenses
- Mental health counseling
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of earnings or support
- Child care or dependent
- Crime Scene cleanup
- Reasonable replacement costs for item or items taken as evidence or made unusable as a result of the criminal investigation.
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
- Property Repair
- 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 $ 10,000 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 best interest of victims. 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.
How to Apply
Applications can be obtained from our Police Social Services office located at the Ferd H. Block Building (West 2nd Street, Downtown Thibodaux). The entrance is on the Patriot Street side, near LA Highway 1. Completed applications are to be returned to the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office. For assistance, call (985) 449-4476.