Tort Victims Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of the Tort Victims′ Compensation Fund?
The purpose of the Fund is to help compensate people who have been injured due to the negligence or recklessness of another (such as in a motor vehicle collision or a hunting accident), and who have been unable to obtain full compensation because the party at fault (the "tortfeasor") had no insurance, or inadequate insurance, or has filed for bankruptcy, or for other reasons specified in the law.
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How do I file a claim against the Victims′ Compensation Fund?
Eligible persons may file a claim against the Fund by submitting an APPLICATION FOR TORT VICTIMS′ COMPENSATION. That form may be obtained by contacting the Program at 573-751-4231, or by downloading the Application for Tort Victims’ Compensation (form WCT-1). The application may be filed in person at the Division of Workers′ Compensation′s Jefferson City Office at 3315 West Truman Blvd., or by mail: Tort Victims′ Compensation Program, P.O. Box 58, Jefferson City, MO 65102. The application may also be filed at the Division of Workers′ Compensation′s offices in Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, St. Charles, Cape Girardeau, St. Joseph and Joplin.
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Do I need an attorney?
You may make and pursue a claim with or without the assistance of an attorney. The Tort Victims′ Compensation Program cannot offer you legal advice, but can explain procedural issues and required documentation.
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When should I file a claim?
You should consider filing a claim as soon as possible, as there are time limitations on filing a claim.
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Who is eligible to make a claim?
The following persons can make a claim against the Tort Victims′ Compensation Fund:
- A person who has obtained a final money judgment in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit in which all appeals are final, but who has been unable to collect the full amount of the judgment.
- A person whose claim for personal injury or wrongful death was settled for the policy limits of liability insurance, and those policy limits are inadequate to cover the amount of damages due to the personal injury or wrongful death.
- A person whose claim for personal injury or wrongful death has been unsuccessful due to the tortfeasor′s bankruptcy.
- If the uncompensated tort victim is deceased, the surviving spouse or certain other family members of the deceased may make a claim.
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Who is not eligible to make a claim?
- If the injury occurred outside of the state of Missouri, and the injured person was not a Missouri resident, there is no one eligible to make a claim against the Fund for the injury.
- A corporation, partnership, or commercial entity is not eligible to make a claim against the Fund.
- Anyone who was on house arrest or who was confined in any jail, prison, or correctional facility at the time of the injury is not eligible to make a claim against the Fund.
- Anyone who pleaded guilty to, or had been found guilty of two or more felonies, which felonies were committed within ten years of the injury, and where either of the felonies involved a controlled substance or an act of violence is not eligible to make a claim against the Fund.
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Will there be any funds available to pay my claim if I am successful?
All claims filed between August 28, 2001 and December 31, 2010 have been paid on a pro rata basis. There are currently insufficient funds to pay claims filed after January 1, 2011. For more information, see Important Information on Tort Victims' Compensation on this website.
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Is there a dollar limit on claims?
By law, claims against the Tort Victims′ Compensation Fund are limited to $300,000 or less. Any claim with a value higher than $300,000 will be re-valued at $300,000.
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How will my claim be evaluated?
The claim will be evaluated based upon the law, and based upon the information that you provide. If you have not provided all of the necessary information, we will let you know, in writing, what additional information is needed.
Claims filed during the initial claims period will be reviewed by the Tort Victims′ Compensation Program staff, who will mail you an "Administrative Determination" stating whether you should receive money from the Fund, and, if so, how much. If you agree with the Administrative Determination, you do not need to do anything more. If you disagree with the Administrative Determination, you have the right to have your claim heard and determined by an Administrative Law Judge. At the trial you can testify, present testimony of other witnesses, and present any other relevant evidence.
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What information will be required from me?
In most cases, you will be required to provide information regarding the following:
- The accident or incident
- The lawsuit and judgment
- Efforts to collect on the judgment
- Insurance available to insure the liability of the party at fault (the "tortfeasor")
- Insurance available to you to pay for medical bills, disability, loss of income, etc.
- Other benefits you have received (e.g., workers′ compensation, social security)
- Your medical condition
- Your medical bills
- Your lost income
Every case is different, and not all such information is required in every case. Some cases may require information not described here. You will be notified as to what information is needed in your particular case.
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Why will I need to provide information regarding my insurance and other benefits?
This information is necessary because the Tort Victims′ Compensation Fund is a "payor of last resort". That means that all other potential payment sources should be exhausted before deciding how much money the Fund should be required to pay.
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