Thursday, July 29, 2004

Hit-run victims get new shot at claims

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - The state said it will reconsider rejected claims of almost 300 victims of hit-and-run accidents for possible financial aid from the Ohio Victims of Crime Compensation Program.

Attorney General Jim Petro said Tuesday that previously rejected claims from hit-and-run cases since 2000 would be given further consideration for the $41 million victims program.

Under the program, victims can get up to $50,000 for funeral expenses, lost wages or medical bills incurred as a result of violent crime.

Officials say most hit-and-run claims have been ineligible because, with few exceptions, state law exempts vehicle use from the definition of conduct that can cause criminal injury.

After a complaint from a victim, Petro announced the change.

Until the complaint, Petro had been unaware of the hit-and-run policy, said Jim Canepa, chief deputy attorney general.

All hit-and-run victims since 2000 will be contacted again because that was the year the attorney general's office took over the program from the Ohio Court of Claims, Petro said.

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