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Happy Holidays & Happy New Year, 2017!

happy-holidays

Wishing our readers, and all, a very happy, joyous and safe holiday season and a prosperous, healthy and peaceful New Year!
 
– the BNI team

How To Access Your State’s Victim Compensation Funds.

crimevictimcompensation

Although we hope our readers never need to access their state’s victim funds, they should know that these services and compensation are available.  (We use New York as the example state for this article but the process is virtually identical in all of the states. There is also a federal Office for Victims of Crime (OVC).  The OVC’s mission, however, covers such areas as human trafficking, mass violence (riots) and terrorism. The purpose of this article is to provide more local information.)

History

The State of New York’s commitment to its innocent victims of violent crime began with the creation of the Crime Victims Compensation Board in 1966, now named the Office of Victim Services (OVS). As of June 22, 2010, the Crime Victims Board (CVB) became the Office of Victim Services (OVS) and has been providing compensation and other services to one of the most vulnerable populations in our State – innocent victims of crime – for more than 40 years.

Mission

OVS has a three-tiered mission to:

  • provide compensation to innocent victims of crime in a timely, efficient and compassionate manner;
  • fund direct services to crime victims via a network of community-based programs; and
  • advocate for the rights and benefits of all innocent victims of crime.

Compensation

OVS provides substantial financial relief to victims of crime and their families by paying unreimbursed crime-related expenses, including but not limited to: medical and funeral expenses, loss of earnings or support, counseling costs, crime scene clean-up expenses, the cost to repair or replace items of essential personal property, reasonable and necessary court transportation expenses, assistance to crime victims acting as a good Samaritan, the cost of residing at or utilizing the services of a domestic violence shelter, and limited attorney fees.

The agency is a payer of last resort, which means:

  • A crime victim or family member must exhaust all other sources of compensation before OVS can assist.
  • For example, benefits must first be obtained from health or other insurance policies or workers’ compensation before the agency can provide compensation.

Who may be eligible for compensation?

  • The victim must be an innocent victim of the crime. By law, OVS can reduce an award or deny a claim if the agency determines that a person’s conduct contributed to their injuries.
  • Victims of crime who were physically injured as a result of the crime
  • Victims of crime who are under 18, 60 and over, or disabled, who were not physically injured
  • Certain relatives and dependents, including surviving spouse, child, parent, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, stepparent or person primarily dependent on the victim for support
  • Those who paid for or incurred burial costs for an innocent crime victim
  • Child victims, a child who witnesses a crime, and the child’s parent, stepparent, grandparent, guardian, brother, sister, stepbrother or stepsister
  • Certain victims of unlawful imprisonment or kidnapping
  • Certain stalking victims
  • Victims of terrorist acts outside of the US who are a resident of New York State
  • Victims of frivolous lawsuits brought by a person who committed a crime against the victim

What other steps are necessary to be eligible?

  • Report the crime within one week to police or another criminal justice agency
  • File a claim with OVS within one year of the crime
  • If late with either crime reporting or claim filing, justify the delay in writing
  • Cooperate with police, the district attorney’s office and OVS

If you believe you are eligible for relief or reimbursement from the NYS OVS, file a claim here.  To ensure process efficiency, have all of your related documentation together before contacting the agency.

And now, this week in:

NEW NEWS:  “All New York State IDs are currently acceptable to use for REAL ID purposes, such as getting into federal buildings and for use to board domestic flights,” said DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan. “We anticipate that all documents now issued will remain acceptable until October 1, 2020.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

 

Class Action Lawsuits: How To Research, Initiate or Submit Claims.

 

class-action

Whether it is a credit card APR suddenly shooting through the roof or a defective product that has caused  serious injury, if you have been on this earth long enough, sooner or later you will scream, “Someone should sue these people!”  Now you can check and see if someone has done just that – initiated litigation about a product, service or company.

TopClassActions.com hosts a very informative site that provides information on the following:

  • Class Action Suit News (On consumer products, drugs, medical devices, labor & employment, stocks & securities, etc.)
  • Settlements (Open and Closed)
  • Investigations (Into class actions, product liability, personal injury and more)

You can even submit a claim on the site on open class action suit that have been resolved and a pay-out fund established.  There are dozens of these settlements that you can review, from the Uber gratuity charge action to the My Pillow refund due all who purchased this product.  Check the up-to-date settlement database here. 

The site even contains a section where you can check the top class action lawsuits in the news and in which you may have a stake.  For example, the current top class action suits include:

POPULAR SETTLEMENTS

Ford Lincoln spark plug class action settlement

Ford, Lincoln Spark Plug Class Action Settlement

Electrolux class action lawsuit

Electrolux Dryer Class Action Settlement

Johnson's Bedtime Bath class action lawsuit

Johnson’s Bedtime Bath Products Class Action Settlement

car class action lawsuit

Auto Parts Price-Fixing Class Action Settlement

milk price-fixing settlement

Fresh Milk Products Price-Fixing Class Action Settlement

NEC-disk-drive

Optical Disk Drive Indirect Purchaser Class Action Settlement

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New News: The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has gotten hold of a “mystery device” that thieves have been spotted on security cameras using to electronically open and start cars. More.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, be safe.

 

Staying Safe and Your Chances of Dying Otherwise.

New News:   Uber can now track passengers’ locations after they are dropped off even when the app is closed.

(We hope you are enjoying our new feature above. In New News, we bring you the latest info bytes relating to the law, legality, security, privacy concerns and things that catch my attention that I think will interest you. The link will take you to the source article.)

Beacon Bulletin

It’s that time of the year for our annual holiday safety article. You may think you know this all, you’ve heard a million holiday tips by now, it’s all common sense… that may all be true but a) everyone needs a reminder about personal safety every so often and b) we’ll keep it real and try to keep it interesting!

  1. If you are carrying a wallet, keep it in a front pocket. If you carry your wallet in your bag, close the zipper and keep the zipper side in front of you on your shoulder or in your hand.
  2. If walking on a sidewalk near a street, always walk facing the traffic to avoid being surprised by someone in a vehicle.
  3. Contrary to what we’ve heard often – to avoid eye contact – personal safety experts advise you to do the exact opposite. If someone is walking behind you or approaching you and you are unsure of their intent, make direct eye contact with them to let the person know that you are aware, you see them and you are not a victim.
  4. In your cell phone contacts, program “ICE,” which stands for “in case of emergency,” linking it to a family member or friend…someone you trust the police, firemen or other authorities to call if you are unable to call for yourself.
  5. Install a mirror app on your smartphone so that you can see who is behind you if you feel the need to do so.
  6. When approaching your home or vehicle, never fumble in your pocket, purse or bag for keys; have them in your hand prior to reaching the door.
  7. When approaching your parked car, look and make sure no one is hiding in or around your vehicle, especially in the back seat.
  8. When on public transportation, cover your jewelry. Turn stone rings toward the palm side of your hand.
  9. AAA and many other companies offer smartphone applications that enable motorists to request help without making a phone call.  Download them before you need the help.
  10. Keep your space: intimate space = 0 to 1.5 feet; personal space = 1.5 to 4 feet; social space = 4 to 12 feet; and public space = 12 feet or more.

The above was the real part and now for the interesting:

Read below how you have a better chance of being legally executed than dying from a dog bite.  Yes, these are United States stats.

Also, these odds are statistical averages over the entire U.S. population and do not necessarily reflect the chances of death for a particular person from a particular external cause. Odds of dying are affected by an individual’s activities, occupation, and where he or she lives and drives, among other things.

Given that the odds of dying from all possible causes are 1 in 1, worry about the ones you have some control over. Here are the lifetime odds of death for selected causes, from most likely to least:

Cause of Death Odds of Dying
Heart Disease and Cancer 1 in 7
Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease 1 in 27
Intentional Self-harm 1 in 97
Unintentional Poisoning By and Exposure to Noxious Substances 1 in 103
Motor Vehicle Crash 1 in 113
Fall 1 in 133
Assault by Firearm 1 in 358
Pedestrian Incident 1 in 672
Motorcycle Rider Incident 1 in 948
Unintentional Drowning and Submersion 1 in 1,183
Exposure to Fire, Flames or Smoke 1 in 1,454
Choking from Inhalation and Ingestion of Food 1 in 3,408
Pedacyclist Incident 1 in 4,337
Firearms Discharge 1 in 7,944
Air and Space Transport Incidents 1 in 9,737
Exposure to Excessive Natural Heat 1 in 10,784
Exposure to Electric Current, Radiation, Temperature and Pressure 1 in 14,695
Contact with Sharp Objects 1 in 30,860
Cataclysmic Storm 1 in 63,679
Contact with Hornets, Wasps and Bees 1 in 64,706
Contact with Heat and Hot Substances 1 in 69,169
Legal Execution 1 in 111,439
Being Bitten or Struck by a Dog 1 in 114,622
Lightning Strike 1 in 174,426

Source: National Safety Council estimates based on data from National Center for Health Statistics–Mortality Data for 2013, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Deaths are classified on the basis of the 10th revision of the World Health Organization’s The International Classification of Diseases (ICD). For additional mortality figures, and estimated one-year and lifetime odds, see Injury Facts® 2016 Edition, pages 40-43.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, and especially during the holiday season, stay safe.

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