As the California Victim Compensation Board (CVCB) gears up to assist survivors of the victims of the Conception diving boat fire, many people are wondering what kinds of compensation the program will provide. This blog will provide information as to what kinds of compensation can and cannot be paid by the CVCB. It is worth noting that the CVCB has tasked the Santa Barbara DA’s office with administering the compensation.
Types of Compensation Provided by the CVCB
**Please note that the CVCB compensation is not meant to provide victims' families with all of the compensation to which they may be entitled. For example, "these funds offer zero for loss of companionship, pain, and suffering.” In order to claim full compensation we recommend that victims' families contact a competent maritime attorney.
The California Victim Compensation Board’s website lists the following as compensation that victims can claim:
- Crime scene clean up
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Home or vehicle modifications for victims who became disabled
- Income loss
- Medical and dental treatment
- Mental health services
- Residential security
You can find a handy compensation reference guide here.
Conditions on Claiming Compensation
The California Victim Compensation Board’s website specifies that it is a payer of last resort and that potential claimants’ “reimbursement and recovery sources must be applied to all expenses first.” As an example, the site says that sources such as “medical insurance, disability insurance, employer benefits and civil suits” must be exhausted before the Compensation Board’s payments can be accessed.
Additional restrictions on payments can be found on the California Victim Compensation Board’s website under “Expenses that cannot be paid by CalVCB.”
Important Information Claimants Must Keep In Mind
Those who are planning to apply for this compensation should keep these two very important facts in mind:
- Whatever you say in writing to apply for the funds can eventually be obtained by the lawyers for the insurance companies for the owners and operators of the vessel and dive operations; and
- You still need a maritime attorney to represent you in the claims against the owners and operators of the vessel and dive operations.