The Tennessee Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund provides up to $32,000 in compensation to victims of violent crime and eligible family members.
- Medical expenses and mental health counseling
- Crime scene clean-up
- Moving and travel expenses
A wider range of compensation may be available by filing a civil lawsuit. Learn more about case eligibility in a free consultation with our experienced lawyers.
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Through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund, the Tennessee Department of Treasury provides emergency financial assistance to victims of violent crime from Memphis to Knoxville. Open to innocent victims of crimes committed in Tennessee, the State Fund offers up to $32,000 in financial reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses.
Who Can Apply For Crime Expense Reimbursement?
Tennessee's Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund is a valuable resource for thousands of crime victims every year. In general, the program is open to anyone who suffered physical injuries due to a violent criminal offense within the State of Tennessee. This compensation is not just for residents of Tennessee; it's intended for anyone injured by a crime committed in Tennessee, including vacationers and other visitors. Compensation is also available for Tennessee residents who were injured by crime in states that do not have their own victims' assistance funds.
The program also offers reimbursement to financial dependents in the event of a loved one's crime-related death. Even more generously, the fund may consider reimbursing the decedent's estate if there are no surviving financial dependents. Good Samaritans who were injured while attempting to prevent a crime or apprehend a criminal suspect are also free to apply for reimbursement.
Exceptions: Ineligible Applicants
Injury victims who "contributed to" their own victimization "in any way (directly or indirectly), such as participating in the criminal act that led to the injury or death", are not eligible for compensation, according to the Tennessee Department of Treasury. Alongside this restriction, claims can be denied if the Division of Claims Administration believes that the award would go to benefit the criminal offender.
Covered Criminal Offenses
Compensation is available for the victims of a wide range of criminal offenses, including but not limited to:
- Murder / homicide
- Domestic violence
- Sexual assault
- Child sexual abuse
- Robbery by force
- Human trafficking
- DWI / DUI accidents, including watercraft accidents
- Hit-and-run accidents
In general, Tennessee's Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund does not provide reimbursement for property damage or lost property, including property damage caused during the commission of a violent crime. For example, victims who are injured in a DWI accident may be able to secure financing for their medical expenses, but won't be able to secure reimbursement for car repairs or replacement.
How Does Tennessee's Victims Compensation Fund Work?
As a "payer of last resort," Tennessee's Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund only covers out-of-pocket expenses - your financial losses after other funding sources have been exhausted. Reimbursement for medical expenses, for example, must be sought first through your health insurance policy. Tennessee's victims' assistance program picks up the remaining costs once your health insurance has run out, while also covering co-pays and deductibles.
The same goes for auto insurance, life insurance, civil lawsuit settlements and public government benefits - this money has to be drawn on before you become eligible to secure compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund only covers a limited range of crime-related expenses, but it's actually more generous than other state programs. Along with hospital bills, prescription medications and mental health counseling, Tennessee's fund may also provide a limited amount of reimbursement for pain and suffering, forms of crime-related harm that no other state-run victim compensation program even considers.
Compensation Types & Limits
Again, the maximum award available to any one applicant is capped at $32,000. As we'll see, several expense types also come with their own internal limits:
- Medical bills
- Mental health counseling
- available to some relatives of a deceased victim ($3,500 maximum)
- Pain and suffering (available only to victims of sexually-oriented crimes; $3,000 maximum)
- Lost wages
- Lost financial support (available to financial dependents upon the victim's death)
- Permanent impairment
- Funeral, cremation or burial expenses ($6,000 maximum)
- Crime scene cleanup ($3,000 maximum)
- Moving expenses (if necessary for the victim's health and safety)
- Travel expenses (available to attend criminal trial proceedings; $1,250 maximum)
In submitting your application, you'll need to include a number of additional documents to substantiate the existence of your injuries and the financial losses you've sustained as a result. As the application states, "attach copies of itemized bills from service providers, receipts, insurance benefit statements, and any other documentation to support the expenses you wish the program to consider." You will also need to attach a copy of the police report that was created when you reported the crime.
General Application Requirements
Like every other state-operated compensation program, Tennessee's victims' assistance fund has two goals. The first goal is to provide crime victims with necessary financial support in the wake of a terrible injury. The second is to encourage more victims to step forward and report crimes to the authorities.
As a result, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund requires, as a condition of eligibility, that the crime be reported within 48 hours of its occurrence. However, Tennessee has exceptions to this deadline when the victim is a minor or the victim can show "good cause" to explain the delay. In your application, you'll be provided with space to explain why you reported the crime after 48 hours, if applicable.
Applications must be filed within 1 year of the crime, except in the case of minor victims. Victims under the age of 18, including surviving financial dependents of a homicide victim, have until their 19th birthday to submit an application for compensation.
Victims are also required to cooperate with law enforcement officials in their investigation, arrest and prosecution of any criminal suspects that can be identified. There's no requirement that any suspect ever be identified, arrested or prosecuted. You can secure financial reimbursement even if the criminal perpetrator is never located.
How To Begin Your Application
To begin your application, you can download a PDF copy at this link. Review the application carefully before you start filling it out. Once you're ready, complete the form in blue or black ink as thoroughly as you can; the less complete your application, the longer it will take to process. After attaching all of your substantiating documents, you can send the form to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Program:
State of Tennessee Division of Claims and Risk Management 502 Deaderick Street Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0202
If you need help completing your application, reach out to your local District Attorney's Office.