Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Chapter 258A of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 1, as appearing in the 1984 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 1. The following words as used in this chapter shall have the following meanings, unless the context requires otherwise:
"Crime", an act committed by an adult or a juvenile in the commonwealth which, if committed by a mentally competent, criminally responsible adult, who had no legal exemption or defense, would constitute a crime; provided that such act involves the application of force or violence or the threat of force or violence by the offender upon the victim; and provided, further, that no act involving the operation of a motor vehicle which results in injury to another shall constitute a crime for the purpose of this chapter unless such injury was intentionally inflicted through the use of a motor vehicle.
"Dependent", mother, father, spouse, spouse's mother, spouse's father, child, grandchild, adopted child, illegitimate child, brother, sister, niece or nephew, who is wholly or partially dependent for support upon and living with the victim at the time of his injury or death due to a crime alleged in a claim pursuant to this chapter.
"Family", the spouse, parent, grandparent, stepmother, stepfather, child, grandchild, brother, sister, half brother, half sister, adopted children of parent, or spouse's parents of the offender or of the victim, as applicable.
"Medical care", the medical, psychological, surgical, dental, optometric, chiropractor, podiatric, and hospital care provided to a victim, including: medicines, medical, dental and surgical supplies; crutches; artificial members; appliances; and training in the use of artificial members and appliances.
"Offender", a person who commits a crime.
"Out-of-pocket loss", unreimbursed or unreimbursable expenses for services eligible for compensation pursuant to this chapter.
"Victim", a person who suffers personal injury or death as a direct result of a crime.
SECTION 2. Section 2 of said chapter 258A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-
If the claimant did not reside in the commonwealth at the time the crime occurred or is not a resident of the commonwealth at the time the claim is filed, his claim shall be brought in the district court within the territorial jurisdiction in which the crime occurred. A claimant who is not a resident of the commonwealth at the time the claim is filed shall be eligible for compensation pursuant to this chapter only upon a showing, by written documentation provided to the attorney general or his representative by the district attorney for the county in which the crime occurred or his representative, that the claimant has cooperated with law enforcement efforts or the prosecution of the case or, in the alternative, that such claimant can demonstrate to the court that he possesses or possessed a reasonable excuse for failing to cooperate.
SECTION 3. Said chapter 258A is hereby further amended by striking out section 3, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 3. Except as hereinafter provided, the following persons shall be eligible for compensation for the following losses and services pursuant to this chapter:
(a) A victim of a crime shall be eligible for compensation for loss of earnings and for medical care or other necessary services, including his own reasonable mental health counseling, required because of the crime upon which the claim is based. In the case of rape victims, such services shall include emergency funds for housing but shall not include funds for abortion or funds for counseling for abortion.
(b) In the case of the death of the victim as a direct result of the crime, a dependent of the victim shall be eligible for compensation for loss of the victim's support, for medical care and mental health counseling provided to the victim, and for other necessary services required because of said crime.
(c) In the case of the death of the victim as a direct result of the crime, any legal guardian, dependent or other family member of a victim who incurs funeral expenses directly related to the victim's death, shall be eligible for compensation for said funeral expenses up to the amount of two thousand dollars.
(d) In the case of the death of a victim as a direct result of a crime, a member of the victim's family, whether or not a dependent of the victim, shall be eligible for compensation for his own reasonable mental health counseling, necessitated by the claimant's psychological or emotional problems resulting from the victim's death.
(e) In the case of the death of a minor victim as a direct result of a crime, any person who incurs a legally enforceable indebtedness reasonably incurred for medical care to the victim or for necessary services required because of said crime shall be eligible for compensation for said care and services.
An offender or an accomplice of an offender shall not be eligible to receive compensation with respect to a crime committed by the offender. Except in the case of rape, a member of the family of the offender or a person maintaining sexual relations with the offender shall not be eligible to receive compensation for injuries sustained in an alleged crime committed by the offender unless:
(1) such compensation would be in the interests of justice;
(2) such compensation would not unjustly benefit the offender; and
(3) the claimant verifies, through written documentation provided to the attorney general or his representative by the district attorney for the county in which the alleged crime occurred or his representative, that the claimant has cooperated with law enforcement or the prosecution of the crime in which the claimant was injured or, in the alternative, the claimant demonstrates to the court that he possesses or possessed a reasonable excuse for failing to cooperate.
SECTION 4. Said chapter 258A is hereby further amended by striking out section 4, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 4. A claim for compensation may be filed by a person eligible for compensation or, if he is a minor or is incompetent, by his parent or guardian.
A claim shall be filed not later than one year after the occurrence of the crime upon which it is based; provided, however, that for good cause, the court may either before or after the expiration of said filing period extend the time for filing such claim; and provided, further, that in no event shall a late entry be allowed after the expiration of three years following the date of the occurrence of the crime.
Each claim shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the district court in person or by mail. Said clerk shall immediately notify the attorney general of the claim. Such notification shall be in writing, with copies of such material as is included in the claim or in support thereof. The attorney general shall investigate such claim, prior to the opening of formal court proceedings. Said clerk of court shall notify the claimant and the attorney general of the date and time of any hearing on such claim.
The attorney general shall present any information he may have in support of or in opposition to the claim. The claimant may present evidence and testimony on his own behalf or may retain counsel. The court may, as part of any order entered under this chapter, determine and allow reasonable attorney's fees, which shall not exceed fifteen per cent of the amount awarded as compensation under this chapter, which fee shall be paid out of, but not in addition to, the amount of compensation to the attorney representing the claimant. No attorney for the claimant shall ask for, contract for or receive any larger sum than the amount so allowed.
The court may, as part of any order entered under this chapter for compensation, direct that the warrant for payment by the treasurer be made jointly to the claimant and to any provider of medical or funeral services rendered, and if the claimant is represented by an attorney, the court may direct that the attorney also be named as a joint payee in order to facilitate the payment of medical or funeral bills incurred by the claimant as a result of the crime.
The person filing a claim shall, prior to any hearing thereon, submit reports, if available, from all hospitals, physicians, surgeons, or mental health professionals who treated or examined the victim for the injury for which compensation is sought. If, in the opinion of the court, an examination of the injured victim and a report thereon, or a report on the cause of death of the victim, would be of material aid, the court may appoint a duly qualified impartial physician or mental health professional to make such examination and report.
SECTION 5. Said chapter 258A is hereby further amended by striking out section 5, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 5. No compensation shall be paid unless the claimant has incurred an out-of-pocket loss of at least one hundred dollars or has lost two continuous weeks of earnings or support. The foregoing provision shall not apply to a claimant who was over sixty-five years of age on the date of the alleged crime or was the victim of rape.
No compensation shall be paid unless the court finds that a crime was committed, that such crime directly resulted in personal physical injury to, or the death of, the victim, and that police records show that such crime was promptly reported to the proper authorities. In no case may compensation be paid if the police records show that such report was made more than forty-eight hours after the occurrence of such crime, except in the case of rape, unless the court finds said report to the police to have been delayed for good cause.
Any compensation paid under this chapter shall be in an amount not exceeding out-of-pocket loss, together with loss of earnings or support resulting from such injury.
Any compensation for loss of earnings or support shall be in an amount equal to the actual loss sustained, provided, however, that no compensation for funeral expenses under this chapter shall exceed two thousand dollars and no award under this chapter shall exceed a total of twenty-five thousand dollars, including any award for funeral expenses. If two or more persons are entitled to compensation as a result of a death of a victim which is the direct result of a crime, the compensation shall be apportioned by the court among the claimants in proportion to their loss, and the total of all awards based on said crime shall not exceed twenty-five thousand dollars.
When determining the loss of a victim's earnings or support, the following shall be considered:
(1) If the victim was employed at the time of the injury, loss of actual earnings shall be based upon the victim's net salary at the time of the injury.
(2) If the sole employment of the victim at the time of the injury or death, and for the preceding five years was limited to performing duties and responsibilities of a homemaker, the award shall be sufficient to ensure that the duties and responsibilities are continued until the victim is able to resume the performance of the duties, or until the cost of services reaches the maximum under this section, whichever is less.
SECTION 6. Said chapter 258A is hereby further amended by inserting after section 7 the following two sections:-
Section 7A. Any person who: (a) submit a fraudulent application or claim for an award; (b) intentionally make or cause to be made any false statement or representation of a material fact; or (c) intentionally conceal or fail to disclose information affecting the amount of or the initial or continued right to any such award when reasonably requested to provide such information by the office of the attorney general shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than six months, or both. Said person shall further forfeit any benefit received and shall reimburse the commonwealth for payments received or paid to or on behalf of said person.
The commonwealth shall have a cause of action for relief against any person who violates the provisions of this section for the amount of damages which the commonwealth sustains by reason of such violation and, in addition, for punitive damages of not more than double the amount of damages which the commonwealth sustains, together with interest, and the costs of the action. The attorney general may bring any such action and shall enforce this section.
Section 7B. Each hospital, whether public or private, shall display prominently in its emergency room, posters giving notice of the availability of compensation to victims of crime, their families, or their dependents pursuant to this chapter. Each law enforcement agency of the commonwealth or any political municipality thereof shall inform victims of crime, their families, or their dependents of their rights pursuant to this chapter.