The Law Offices of Kevin R. Madison represents crime victims. We prosecute Crime Victim lawsuits and Inadequate Security Cases. Please contact us for further information regarding whether or not you may have a civil claim against someone who has injured you as a result of an intentional crime. The spouse, children, parents, or estate of a person who is killed by the criminal actions of another (homicide) may have a wrongful death claim against the criminal who intentionally or negligently causes the death of another. This includes murder, death as the result of an assault, death as the result of a collision with a drunk driver, or death as a result of alcohol poisoning, fraternity binge drinking, or hazing causing death to a student. In addition to the legal right to assert a civil lawsuit for monetary (money) damages against the criminal responsible for the victim’s injuries or death, the victim or victim’s family may have certain statutory rights under state law.
We will describe how crime victims can apply for state benefits under the Texas Crime Victim Act, below. We have tried to summarize the state benefits available for crime victims but you should check with the Texas Attorney General to make sure that you seek all benefits that you may be legally entitled to under Chapter 56, Texas Crime Victims Act. Please remember that in addition to state benefits, you may have the legal right to seek civil monetary (money) damages against a person who has injured you, assaulted you, or killed a family member.
Please read the following information carefully before filling out the Crime Victims’ Compensation Application. Victims of violence and their families must deal with the emotional, physical, and financial aftermath of crime. The Texas Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund helps innocent victims and their families when they have no other means of paying for the financial cost of crime. The Fund is administered by the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program of the Office of the Attorney General. The money in the Fund comes from people who break the law.
Basic Qualification Requirements
Residency – The crime must occur in Texas to a Texas resident or a United States resident, or the crime must involve a Texas resident who becomes a victim in another state or country that does not have crime victims’ compensation benefits for which the victim would be eligible.
Reporting the Crime – The crime must be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency within a reasonable period of time, but not so late as to interfere with or hamper the investigation and prosecution of the crime.
Filing for Compensation (TCCP, Art.56.37.) – You must file the application within three years from the date of the crime. The time may be extended for good cause, including the age of the victim or the physical or mental incapacity of the victim.
Cooperation (TCCP, Art.56.45.) – A claim may be denied or reduced if the claimant or victim has not cooperated with the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
Who May Qualify (TCCP, Art.56.32.) – An innocent victim of crime who suffers physical and/or emotional harm or death, an authorized individual acting on behalf of a victim, a person who legally assumes the obligations or voluntarily pays certain expenses related to the crime on behalf of the victim, a dependent of a victim, an immediate family member or household members related by blood or marriage who require psychiatric care or counseling as a result of the crime, an intervener who goes to the aid of the victim or a peace officer, a peace officer, fire fighter, or individual whose employment includes the duty of protecting the public
What Crimes Are Covered (TCCP, Art.56.32.(4) – Crimes involving “criminally injurious conduct,” which is defined as conduct that occurs or is attempted, poses a substantial threat of personal injury or death and is, or would be, punishable by fine, imprisonment or death. This includes sex offenses, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, assaultive offenses, arson, homicide and other violent crimes in which the victim suffers physical or emotional harm or death.
The following motor-vehicle-related crimes are also covered: Failure to Stop and Render Aid, DWI, Manslaughter, Criminally Negligent Homicide, Aggravated Assault, Intoxication Manslaughter and Intoxication Assault.
Who Is Not Eligible
Benefits may be reduced or denied if the behavior of the victim contributed to the crime. Benefits shall be denied if the victim or claimant: knowingly or willingly participated in the crime is the offender or accomplice of the offender was incarcerated in a penal institution or on probation or parole for a felony involving criminally injurious conduct at the time of the crime knowingly or intentionally submits false or forged information to the attorney general.
An award of compensation to the claimant or victim will be denied if it would benefit the offender or an accomplice of the offender.
What Expenses Are Eligible
Claims may be approved for benefits up to a total of $50,000. These funds may be paid to the victim/claimant or to service providers on behalf of the victim. Approved claims may be awarded compensation for the following expenses related to the crime: medical, hospital, physical therapy or nursing care, psychiatric care or counseling, loss of earnings or support, loss of wages due to participation in, or attendance at, the investigation, prosecutorial and judicial processes, and travel, care of a child or a dependent, funeral and burial expenses, crime scene cleanup, replacement costs for clothing, bedding, or property seized as evidence or rendered unusable as a result of the investigation, reasonable attorney fees for assistance in filing the Crime Victims’ Compensation application and in obtaining benefits. If the claim is approved, loss of wages and travel to seek medical treatment, one time relocation expenses for domestic violence victims.
In the case of catastrophic injuries resulting in a total and permanent disability, the victim may be eligible for $50,000 in benefits for: making a home or car accessible, job training and vocational rehabilitation, training in the use of special appliances, home health care, and reimbursement of lost wages. Reimbursement for property damage or theft is not an eligible expense.
The Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund is the “payer of last resort.” It is a secondary source that pays for certain out-of-pocket expenses the victim would be responsible for as a result of the crime. Any other available resources would have to pay before any payment by the Crime Victims’ Compensation program.
The staff at Crime Victims’ Compensation will work with victims and claimants to make sure all available resources, including the Fund, work in the best interests of victims.
If, as a part of a criminal sentence, the court orders an offender to make restitution to the victim for an expense which Crime Victims’ Compensation has already paid, the victim may be required to reimburse the Fund.
How to Apply
Every law enforcement agency in Texas is required to provide victims of crime with information about the Crime Victims’ Compensation program and an application. Applications are also available from prosecutors’ offices. Their victim assistance coordinators are required to provide assistance to victims who ask for help filling out the form. Hospitals and medical centers may also have applications.
You may also get an application directly from the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program in the Office of the Attorney General, or by calling 1-800-983-9933. You may download and fill out the Online Application and mail it in.
After receiving an application and related documentation, including a complete offense report, the Attorney General’s Crime Victims’ Compensation Program reviews the information to see if the crime, the victim and/or claimant are eligible for the program. This process involves verifying all the information presented in the application. Witnesses to the crime, law enforcement officers and prosecutors involved in investigating and prosecuting the crime, physicians, counselors, hospitals, and employers may be contacted for additional information. A decision about whether the victim or claimant is eligible is usually made within 45 days. A staff member is then assigned to the case and works with the victim or claimant to review expenses incurred as a result of the crime and determine which ones are eligible for reimbursement or payment.
Your Right to Appeal
If the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program makes a decision with which the victim or claimant disagrees, the victim or the claimant has a right under the law to ask that the decision be reconsidered. The victim or claimant must notify the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program of the reason for their dissatisfaction and provide additional information in this reconsideration process. If the outcome of the reconsideration process is not satisfactory, the victim or claimant may request a final ruling hearing from the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program. If the victim or claimant does not agree with the outcome of the final ruling, an appeal may be made to district court.
Or write to:
Crime Victim Services Division – CVC Program
Office of the Attorney General
PO Box 12198
Austin, TX 78711-2548
Or Call: 1 (800) 983-9933 or (512) 936-1200 (in Austin)
Or Fax: 1 (512) 320-8270