Being a victim of a criminal event can be frustrating and traumatic. Depending on the extent of the criminal act committed, you may be injured or disabled, or someone you know may have died because of it. No matter which of these things happen, you may have to deal with the trauma and other effects that may result from it.
To help victims who may have incurred losses from the event, the government provides them with a compensation fund. This can be used to recover from financial losses that may have occurred in direct relation to the event, or it can be used to cover fees as the victims seek help for their recovery.
However, it should be noted that not all individuals involved in or affected by a crimewill beable to receive the victims’ compensation fund. There are specific requirements that should be metfirst.
If you’re looking to receive compensation after a criminal event, this article will give you a breakdown of the requirements so you can see if you qualify for it.
What Is A Victim Compensation Fund?
As mentioned above, a victim compensation fund is intended to provide financial assistance to individuals who may have sustained injuries or other losses as a result of a crime. Since criminal events may cause emotional and mental trauma, the fund also covers the costs that might be necessary to help the victim recover mentally and emotionally.
One example of a situation that called for victims’ compensation afterward is the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001. The effects of those attacks struck many people—not just the ones present at the World Trade Center but also those who may have developed health complications from the dust and debris at the site. To this day, individuals who have sustained long-term negative effects from the incident are able to claim their WTC Victim Fund.
It’s important to note that the rules and regulations concerning victims’ compensation may vary from one state to another. As such, individualsshould familiarize themselves with the guidelines of their state’s compensation fund if they plan to file a claim for their losses.
What Are The Eligibility Requirements Of VCF?
Like other programs, VCF requires individuals to comply with common eligibility requirements. These may vary from state to state, and they may also depend on certain factors surrounding your situation.
Though you will need to do more in-depth research for your state’s guidelines, below are the general criteria for individuals who are entitled to VCF.
- If you had direct involvement with the crime or were present at the crime scene, you may be entitled to VCF if any of the following is true:
- You sustained injuriesor are struggling with trauma because of the crime.
- You came to the rescue of a victim but sustained injuries or trauma from doing so.
- You were one of the first responders at the crime scene andsustained injuries or trauma from the experience.
- If you were not directly involved or affected by the crime but were indirectly affected by it, you may be entitled to VCF if any of the following is true:
- You have legal authority to represent a victim who is incapacitated or a minor, or who may have died because of the incident.
- You’re a dependent of a victim who died because of the incident.
- You’re the one shouldering the expenses of the victim, whether it’s for recovery from physical injuries or trauma.
- You’rean immediate family member of the victim andare struggling to recover from the trauma caused by the crime.
- If you fit any one of the categories mentioned above, the following should also be true for you to be able to claim VCF:
- The crime happened within the country.
- The crime was reported to the relevant law enforcement agency.
- You had nothing to do with the commission of the crime.You did not participate in and do not hold shared responsibility for the incident because of any behavior you may have demonstrated, and you weren’t involved in the commission of illegal activity at the time the crime occurred.
- You applied for victims’ compensation within the time limit required by law.This is not always required for some cases, so you should do research beforehand. Again, it may vary between states, but the usual requirement for filing is within three years of the crime date.
As you can see, there are many eligibility requirements that should be met before a VCF can be granted to someone. If you feel that you’re entitled to victims’ compensation after an incident, you should check to see if you meet the criteria for it. If you need help with the process, you can reach out to an experienced lawyer.
A victims’ compensation fund is meant to help victims and their families rebuild their lives after a traumatic event brought about by criminal acts. Though it can’t cover all the intangible areas in which the victims may be struggling, it can help lighten the burden somewhat. If you or a loved one have recently been affected by a criminal incident, it would be best to look through the criteria mentioned above, as well as guidelines set by your state, to see if you’re entitled to victims’ compensation.