If you are an innocent victim of a crime in Florida, you may be able to attain compensation through Florida’s Bureau of Victim Compensation (BVC) Board.
Who Can Apply for Compensation from the BVC?
Individuals can request compensation if they were the victim of a crime in Florida and meet the requirements as defined under Chapter 960 of the Florida Statutes.
The following individuals can apply for compensation from the BVC:
- An individual who becomes injured (or dies – the family may apply) as the result of a criminal act.
- A person under the age of 18 who was the victim of a misdemeanor or felony offense of child abuse, resulting in mental injury as opposed to physical injury.
- A victim suffering psychological or psychiatric injury, but not physical injury or death after witnessing a forcible felony.
- A minor who was present at, saw, or heard a crime, which led to the individual suffering psychiatric or psychological harm.
Intervenors May Also be Eligible to Receive Compensation
An intervenor – this term refers to someone who aids another and becomes injured or dies while acting to help the victim of a crime, prevent a crime or apprehend an individual suspected of committing a crime.
Additional circumstances that may make an individual eligible to receive compensation from the Florida Bureau of Victim Compensation Board:
- A guardian may apply on behalf of a minor sibling, or incapacitated individual and/or minor of a deceased victim.
- A parent, spouse, sibling or child of a deceased victim.
- A relative may apply for funds to cover a deceased victim’s funeral expenses (if there is no other source of funding available).
- A minor present at the scene when a crime occurred who suffers psychological or psychiatric harm due to the crime itself.
- The dependents of a deceased intervenor or a victim who had served as the primary source of monetary support.
- A minor who is the victim of child abuse, suffering with mental/emotional injury.
Information Needed in Order to Apply for Compensation
If you are eligible to apply for benefits through the BVC, you will need to provide certain information.
Information you need to have in order to apply to receive benefits:
- The complete police report related to the incident for which you are seeking compensation.
- A completed victim compensation application.
- A list of crime-related expenses, including itemized bills and other verifiable proof (i.e., medical bills, pharmacy receipts, etc.).
- For the purpose of relocation: Certification from a state-approved rape crisis center or domestic violence shelter.
- Information related to third-party payments related to the crime: This information may include judgments, settlements, insurance and/or restitution.
Although some people attempt to handle the Florida Victim Compensation application process themselves, talking to an experienced Florida injury attorney is beneficial for a variety of reasons. For example, a Florida personal injury lawyer can review your case and determine if all the necessary information is present and if it meets the requirements set forth by the state of Florida and the bureau.
Where to Submit Your Application
To apply for benefits from the Florida Bureau of Victim Compensation, you have several options when submitting your completed (and signed) application.
Bureau of Victim Compensation
The Capitol, PL-01
850-414-6197 or 850-414-5779
If an individual is approved to receive benefits from Florida’s BVC, he or she may be able to recover:
- Loss of support – for those who were dependent on the deceased victim who earned the principal income for the home or who was eligible to receive benefits for reemployment assistance at the time the crime occurred.
- Wage loss – for a victim who was absent from work due to a crime-related injury or a guardian/parent who needed to care for a minor recovering from an injury related to a crime.
- Treatment expenses – non-medical remedial care, medical care and other medically necessary services may be recovered through the BVC.
- Disability allowance – this benefit is provided when the victim of a crime sustains injuries during the crime that cause him or her to become permanently disabled.
- Reimbursement for property loss – this benefit is for victims who are disabled adults or 60 years of age and older. To be eligible for benefits, this type of crime must be reported to the proper authorities in no less than 72 hours. Furthermore, there are only certain kinds of tangible property that are considered compensable according to the Florida Bureau of Victim Compensation Board.
- Counseling services – for grief and mental health.
- Florida victim relocation – may be provided to individuals who are victims of sexual battery and have a reasonable fear related to their continued safety as well as for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking who need to relocate immediately.
- Burial/Funeral expenses – for deceased victim.
Qualifying for benefits from Florida’s Bureau of Victim Compensation requires that:
- The crime be reported within 72 hours.
- The Bureau of Victim Compensation claim form Florida application must be filed within a year of the date of the crime. However, if good cause can be shown for the delay, the BVC may accept applications filed within two years.
- At the time the crime occurred, the victim must not have been engaged in any kind of unlawful activity.
- The victim (or victim’s family) seeking compensation must have suffered physical injury or death due to the crime. However, some exceptions apply for those who sustain psychological or psychiatric injury following certain crimes.
- The victim fully cooperated with every level of law enforcement.
- The conduct of the victim was not a factor in the situation that led to the injuries he or she sustained.
- For victims of domestic violence who request immediate relocation, the certification and application must be received by the Bureau of Victim Compensation within 30 days of the crime.
- The applicant or victim must not have been in custody or confined in a federal or state correctional facility; a municipal or county facility; or assessment, commitment, juvenile detention facility; considered a violent career criminal; a habitual violent or felony offender, or guilty of a violent felony offense.
- For victims of human trafficking who need to be relocated, an application and certification must be received by the BVC within 45 days of the last identifiable threat communicated to law enforcement.
- Sexual battery victims who need to be relocated must file through one of the certified rape crisis centers in Florida.
If you are the victim of a crime in Florida and you meet the criteria to apply for benefits through the Florida Bureau of Victim Compensation Board, contact the attorneys at Kaire & Heffernan, LLC, today at 305-372-0123 or 866-769-0123 (toll-free number) to schedule your free initial consultation with an experienced Florida personal injury attorney. You can also request your complimentary consultation online by clicking here.