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Florida DUIs and Crime Victim’s Compensation

DUIs and DUI-related personal injury accidents have their own unique sets of rules. Not only are they emotional minefields, but they also come with their own set of expectations and laws that make them tricky to navigate.

We’ve written before about Florida’s PIP, or Personal Injury Protection laws. Between PIP and a driver’s health insurance coverage, most medical expenses for accidents are covered. These insurance policies are still subject to deductibles and co-pays, so an insured person still has some expenses they need to pay out-of-pocket. The exception to this rule? Victims of a DUI accident.

What’s the difference? Simply this: a DUI is a crime. This gives the victim a few more options to consider when seeking damages for their injuries. But, there are a specific set of rules that come along with these options.

First, the victim of a DUI crash can file for crime victim’s compensation. The victim must apply with Florida’s State Attorney’s Office, and must be found eligible.

The victim must file for crime compensation within one year of the crime, though there is an exception for minors and incapacitated victims. Keep in mind that this compensation is not the same as court-ordered restitution for DUI prosecution.

Crime compensation helps pay for a crime victim’s out-of-pocket expenses, even if there isn’t an arrest or prosecution. This compensation usually covers medical expenses and perhaps counseling, but usually not property loss. On the other hand, restitution can only be collected if someone has been convicted of a crime, but covers a wider range of losses, including the loss of property. There’s no double-dipping allowed: a victim can’t collect crime compensation and restitution for the same losses.

To be considered eligible for crime compensation, the injured person (or the surviving spouse or family members, if the crime resulted in death) must have been killed or injured, whether in a physical, psychological, or psychiatric way. While you have a year to file your claim, the crime itself must be reported within three days. There are some exceptions, but there must be special circumstances that prevented you or your family from reporting the crime.

It’s also vital that the victim in no way contributed to the crime, and must not have been engaged in any unlawful activity when the crime took place. The victim also needs to cooperate with police and prosecutors as the case is investigated and prosecuted.

Because of the strict deadlines involved with crime compensation, and because of the exceptions surrounding minors, incapacitated victims, and reporting the crime, you may want to consider working with an attorney experienced with crime compensation laws. DUIs are a serious issue, and crime compensation could go a long way in helping cover any medical expenses left over from health insurance and PIP coverage. But, you don’t want to lose out on this compensation because of missing a deadline.

Florida’s PIP laws work to make sure every driver has access to some compensation in the event of an accident. Those compensation options change when an intoxicated driver is involved. Make sure you know all your options if you’re the victim of DUI crash, and know what you need to do to obtain crime victim’s compensation to cover your expenses.

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

Florida DUIs and Crime Victim’s Compensation

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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