Ohio's Crime Victims Compensation Program provides up to $50,000 in compensation to eligible crime victims and their loved ones.
- Medical bills
- Rehab expenses
- Lost wages
Some injury victims and families may also be eligible to pursue financial compensation by filing a civil lawsuit. To find more on your legal options and rights, contact our attorneys now for a free consultation.
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Through the Crime Victims Compensation Program, the Ohio Attorney's General Office offers up to $50,000 in financial reimbursement to victims of violent crime and their loved ones, helping families handle their out-of-pocket expenses in the wake of a terrible victimization.
The Ohio Crime Victims Compensation Program
The program offers compensation to people who have suffered physical injuries due to violent crime in Ohio. Eligibility is not limited to residents of Ohio. Family members of crime victims, especially victims of homicide, are also eligible to file for reimbursement. Compensation may also be available to the estate of a deceased homicide victim.
Victims who caused or contributed to their own injuries by engaging in misconduct are not eligible for compensation. Certain applicants may also be disqualified on the basis of their criminal history, including people who are believed to have committed certain felony crimes within the last 10 years (regardless of charge or conviction).
Arrest and conviction aren't required for applicants to secure compensation. You can be awarded financial reimbursement for your crime-related expenses, even if law enforcement officials never identify the criminal offender who hurt you.
Payer Of Last Resort
Like every other state-based compensation program, Ohio's system operates only as a payer-of-last-resort. Ohio's Crime Victims Compensation Program pays for out-of-pocket losses, the expenses that are left over after all of your other funding sources have been exhausted.
Victims must turn to their collateral sources of funding for compensation first, drawing on health insurance policies, life insurance, auto insurance and government benefit programs. For example, Ohio's victim assistance fund will only begin to reimburse your medical expenses after your health insurance policy has run out.
The Crime Victims Compensation Program comes in to pick up the pieces once your other sources of funding are depleted:
- Health insurance
- Disability insurance
- Auto insurance
- Life insurance
- Workers' compensation benefits
- Government benefit programs, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
- Civil lawsuit settlements or judgments
In your application, you'll need to provide substantiating documents to show that your funding sources have been exhausted.
What Does Ohio's Fund Cover?
The Ohio Crime Victims Compensation Program offers financial reimbursement for a wide range of crime-related expenses. Alongside the general $50,000 maximum award, you'll see below that several individual expense types have their own limits, set by Ohio State law.
- Medical expenses
- Hospital bills
- Surgical fees
- Prescription drugs
- Health insurance co-pays and deductibles
- Mental health counseling
- for immediate family members of victims of homicide, sexual assault, domestic violence or severe injuries resulting in permanent disability - $2,500 maximum per family member, $7,500 maximum total
- Rehab services
- Occupational therapy
- Assistive technologies and medical devices
- Hearing aids
- Dental implants
- Lost wages (with proof of physical disability)
- Lost household services (for dependents of homicide victims)
- Lost financial support (for financial dependents of homicide victims)
- Funeral, burial and cremation expenses ($7,500 maximum)
- Attorney's fees (for victims of domestic violence, when legal representation is necessary to secure protective order against offender - $1,000 maximum, no more than $100 per hour)
- Travel expenses to-and-from criminal justice proceedings
In most cases, Ohio's Crime Victims Compensation Program does not pay out benefits for lost or damaged property, though we've seen several exceptions, like crime scene clean-up, to this general rule. The fund is more for victims of violent crime who have suffered bodily injuries than for victims of property crimes. The compensation program does not consider pain and suffering damages.
No Deadlines, Except For Child Victims
Ohio's Crime Victims Compensation Program has very few deadlines, unlike most similar state-based compensation funds. To become eligible for assistance, victims are required to report the crime to the appropriate authorities, but there's no time limit for doing so. A 72 hour reporting deadline was recently removed from State law.
Nor is there a time limit for filing your claims application, at least where adult victims are concerned. Adults who were injured due to crime can file their application at any time, without exceptions. Child victims, on the other hand, are treated differently. Minors who sustain crime-related injuries have until their 20th birthday, or within 2 years after a complaint, indictment or criminal information is filed against the criminal suspect, to file a claim for compensation, whichever date comes later.
The fund is financed through a combination of federal grants, drivers' license reinstatement fees and fines assessed against criminal offenders. Alongside granting victims compensation awards, Ohio's Crime Victims Compensation Program also pays for forensic examinations for sexual assault victims ("rape kits").