According to a panel of judges in Ohio’s Court of Claims
, the Victims of Crime Compensation Program should pay a man for the dentures
he lost as a result of a 2011 street fight. The state had originally argued that there was insufficient documentation of Jeffrey Childers’ loss
, and that the dentures were considered property loss and therefore would not be compensated under the law.
Childers says that when the fight began he removed his dentures, but then he lost consciousness and doesn’t know what happened to them. He told police about his dentures, but they didn’t look for them, and as a result they were lost.
Helping Crime Victims
The Ohio Victims of Crime Compensation Program allows victims of crime to get compensation for personal injuries they suffer as a result of crime. It allows victims to get compensation for many types of expenses, including medical expenses, time lost from work, counseling expenses, and even funeral expenses. Recently, the program was even expanded to include hearing aids, glasses, walkers, and wheelchairs.
There are two caveats to the fund: the expenses listed have to be ones that are not covered by insurance, and in general compensation for property losses are not covered.
Evidence of Loss
When Childers originally applied for compensation under the program, he sought compensation for medical expenses, counseling expenses, lost work time, and dental expenses. He was denied everything but his medical expenses, and a pittance for travel expenses. The state denied compensation on the other elements because there was insufficient documentation.
Childers applied again, seeking compensation for lost work and dental expenses. This was denied, too. After several appeals, Childers’ case was brought before the review panel for a reconsideration of the cost of dentures.
Initially, the attorney general argued that the loss of dentures should be considered a property loss and therefore not compensable, but the statute for the Victims of Crime Compensation Program explicitly mentions dentures, so the attorney general had to yield.
The court then considered the evidence that the man had lost his dentures at the scene. They compared the evidence that he had his dentures, primarily his testimony, which was detailed and showed clear memory of the incident, to evidence that he had no dentures, which was basically the fact that police didn’t write it down in their report. Because the evidence he lost his dentures was stronger, they granted his suit.
The man has been without his dentures since the fight because he didn’t have money to replace them. Three years is a long time to have to live without dentures.