When a loved one is injured or killed as the result of someone else’s actions or unlawful behavior, a Louisiana family suffers emotionally and also financially because of the unexpected expenses. At Southern Oaks Law Firm, it is well understood how obtaining compensation may be helpful in recovering from your loss. To provide some additional relief, Louisiana passed legislation which provides compensation for the families of innocent victims who suffered personal harm as the result of a crime. The Crime Victims Reparation Act makes money available through federal grants, charitable donations and court-ordered restitution. The Marshall Project, however, reported that many families were denied assistance because the victim had a prior record.
Initially, the Act required the victim of a crime to be clear of a felony conviction, but that made it difficult for some surviving family members to qualify for reparations. To ensure that resources were properly distributed, the state established the Crime Victims Reparations Board to oversee applications and awards. The Board generally voted to approve which applicants were eligible for compensation based on criteria such as law enforcement’s report of the crime.
In the Act’s 2019 update, Louisiana lawmakers decided that crime victims’ families who apply for reparations may not be denied relief because of a criminal history. With this new change, the Act eliminated its previous provision that required a victim to be free of a felony conviction during the previous five years before the crime occurred.
Regardless of mistakes made by a victim in the past, the Board may consider approving an application based on:
- Loss of wages or financial support for the family due to the victim’s death, severe injuries or disability as a result of a violent crime
- Personal injury expenses that are not covered by health insurance such as for therapy, psychiatric counseling or physical rehabilitation
- Expenses needed for burial, cremation or funeral services
Although there is no amount of compensation that can make up for the sudden loss or disabling of a loved one, families of crime victims should not suffer unreasonably. My web page on personal injury explains more about your rights for recovery in cases where disability or loss of life occurs as a result of someone’s misdeeds or negligence.