Through the Crime Victims Reparations Fund, Louisiana provides up to $10,000 in compensation to eligible crime victims and certain family members, helping families recover in the wake of violent crime.
- Medical expenses (including co-pays and deductibles)
- Lost wages and financial support
- Crime scene clean-up
Some crime victims may also be eligible to pursue financial damages in a civil lawsuit. Learn more about your legal options in a free consultation with our experienced lawyers.
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Louisiana's Crime Victims Reparations Fund was created to help innocent victims of crime and their loved ones face the physical, emotional and financial challenges of victimization, offering up to $10,000 in financial reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses.
Victims Assistance In Louisiana
The Crime Victims Reparations Fund is for people who suffer physical injuries due to violent crime committed in Louisiana. Residents of other states are free to apply for reimbursement, so long as the crime in which they were injured occurred in Louisiana.
Residents of Louisiana who are injured in other states should first apply for funding through the compensation program offered by the state in which their injuries occurred, not Louisiana's fund. If another state doesn't have a victims' assistance program, Louisiana's fund may be able to help.
Who Can Apply For Financial Assistance?
While most state compensation programs limit eligibility to victims who have suffered physical or emotional injuries, Louisiana's fund actually extends coverage to people who have suffered catastrophic property losses due to crime.
And, alongside the direct victims of crime, compensation may also be available for some of a victim's immediate family members, including funds offered to survivors of a homicide victim for grief counseling.
You may also be able to apply for compensation if you have assumed a legal obligation to pay for a victim's crime-related expenses. In most cases, this eligibility category applies to the estate of a homicide victim.
Restrictions On Eligibility
Certain groups of people are ineligible from participating in the program:
- victims who contributed to the crime through their own behavior
- applicants who were engaged in illegal activity at the time of the crime
- the criminal offender or an accomplice of the offender
- injury victims who were convicted of a felony within five years of the crime
- injury victims serving a sentence or probation in the five years before or after the crime (this restriction does not apply to sexual assault victims)
- injury victims who were incarcerated at the time of the crime
Most victims who are injured in motor vehicle accidents are ineligible, too, but as we'll see in a bit, several types of car accident are covered by the Crime Victims Reparations Fund.
Which Crimes Are Eligible For Compensation?
Louisiana's Crime Victims Reparations Fund covers a broad range of violent crimes, defined generally as criminal offenses "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 [...] human trafficking." That's an open-ended definition that includes:
- Assault and battery
- Sexual assault
- Child sexual abuse
- Domestic violence
As we mentioned before, most car accidents aren't included in the list of eligible crimes. Here are the exceptions:
- DWI / DUI accidents
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Intentional use of vehicle to inflict injuries
- Driver attempted to flee law enforcement
In those four cases, compensation may be available from the Crime Victims Reparations Fund.
Filing Deadlines & Other Requirements
In order to secure compensation, the crime in question must be reported to an appropriate law enforcement agency within 72 hours of its occurrence. Exceptions apply for "good cause" delays, such as the victim being a child, but applicants will have to explain their reason for filing late in writing before receiving approval.
A "good cause" exception also applies to the deadline for filing an application or claim to the Crime Victims Reparations Fund, which is usually 1 year from the date of the crime. Alongside these deadlines, Louisiana's assistance fund requires that victims cooperate with law enforcement officials in their arrest and prosecution of criminal suspects, when applicable.
However, neither arrest nor prosecution are a requirement. You still have the right to apply for financial reimbursement, even if the person who committed the crime is never identified or arrested.
Reimbursable Crime-Related Expenses
Louisiana's Crime Victims Reparations Fund provides up to $10,000 in financial reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses. In most cases, $10,000 is the absolute maximum award, but up to $25,000 may be available for victims who suffer a total and permanent disability due to their victimization.
- Medical bills
- Prescription medications
- Dental bills
- Funeral, burial and cremation expenses
- Lost financial earnings
- Lost financial support (for dependents of a homicide victim)
- Child care
- Crime scene cleanup
- Replacement costs for personal property seized as evidence or "made unusable" due to the investigation
Louisiana is unique in the nation for offering compensation to victims who have suffered catastrophic property losses, but "catastrophic" in this case turns out to be a pretty high bar.
Catastrophic Property Losses
Property loss compensation is limited, the Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Criminal Justice writes, "to the loss of your current residence provided it is owned and occupied by the victim / claimant" [emphasis added].
If your house is rendered unlivable due to arson, for example, you may be eligible to secure reimbursement for expenses incurred due to the crime, but only if you both owned and lived in the house at the time of the crime.
You Must Turn To Other Funding Sources First
Louisiana's victim assistance fund operates as a "payer-of-last-resort." It pays for your out-of-pocket expenses, things that no other funding source will cover. In filing an application, you are required to utilize your additional sources of funding before Louisiana's program begins to pay out. In short, the Crime Victims Reparations Fund pays last, not first.
In reviewing your claim, the Crime Victims Reparations Board will review information from your collateral funding sources to ensure that any expenses that could be covered by another source have already been used. Additional funding sources include:
- health insurance
- disability insurance
- life insurance
- workers' compensation benefits
- Social security benefits
- Medicare and Medicaid
- Vacation time
- Sick leave
- Court-ordered restitution
- Civil lawsuit settlements or judgments
In the event that an eligible expense is reimbursed through one of your additional funding sources after the Crime Victims Reparations Fund has paid out, you may have to reimburse the Fund.
Starting Your Eligibility Application
To download a paper copy of the application, you can find one here, along with the individual forms that you'll need to file claims for each individual expense type. The basic form is labeled "CVR Application"; this form is used to determine your eligibility. Actual claims for compensation are filed using the specific forms found on that page. Read the application instructions carefully, then begin to fill it out. You want to fill out the form as completely as possible.
You can also find a copy of the application form at your local Sheriff's office. For help completing your application, reach out to a victim reparations coordinator. You can find a full list of coordinators (there's one for each Parish) on the Crime Victims Reparation's Funds homepage.