Addressing a man’s appeal claim, a panel of Ohio judges decided the Victims of Crime Compensation Program should compensate a man who lost his dentures in a 2011 street fight. The State’s original decision was to deny the claim because there was insufficient documentation of Jeffrey Childers’ loss, and, additionally, the dentures should be considered property loss.
Childers claims that he removed his dentures when the fight began, but when it was over he didn’t know where his dentures were. He claims he told police at the scene about his dentures, but never got them.
The Ohio Victims of Crime Compensation Program is similar to Pennsylvania’s own program which allows people to get compensation for losses suffered during a crime, especially personal injuries and related expenses, but not including property. Expenses that can be compensated include medical expenses, travel expenses, counseling expenses, funeral expenses, and even time off from work.
The only property allowed the only type of property that can be compensated are medical aids, which were only recently added to the program. This category includes hearing aids, glasses, walkers, and wheelchairs.
Ohio also stipulates that it won’t cover costs covered by insurance.
Childers originally applied for compensation for a broad spectrum of expenses, including lost work time, medical expenses, counseling expenses, and dental expenses. The state paid a small amount for his medical expenses and transportation, but denies all the other claims, saying there was not enough documentation.
Childers appealed the decision with a second application, this time for lost work and dental expenses. This follow-up application was denied, but Childers appealed, several times, until it was brought before the review board, which agreed to reconsider the dental expenses.
The attorney general initially argued that dentures were property, and therefore not covered. The judges pointed out, though, that the new statute specifically mentions dentures among its list of compensated medical items.
Then the judges considered the evidence, saying that in order to prove the validity of the claim, there simply had to be more evidence that he did lose his dentures than that he didn’t. They pointed out that, although he just had his own testimony in support of the loss, there wasn’t really any evidence that he didn’t have them. The only evidence that he didn’t have dentures is that the police officer didn’t include it in his report, which the judge felt was basically no evidence. Therefore, they decided to grant his suit.
Although this is good news, the poor man has already been living without dentures for three years. Hopefully, if a similar suit arose in Pennsylvania, it would be resolved more quickly.
Dental Excellence of Blue Bell