Recognition as Victims of Hostile Actions due to Mental Harm
When do individuals suffering psychological distress qualify as victims of hostile actions due to mental harm? Israeli law provides a broad definition of victims of hostile acts, which can encompass cases involving psychological damage. Recognition of these victims can be initiated by authorities or by the victims themselves through the National Insurance Institute. The compensation amount for these victims depends on the degree of disability determined by the National Insurance Institute.
How are Victims of Hostile Actions Defined?
As a nation accustomed to conflicts and terrorist actions, Israel has a substantial number of victims of hostile acts. The legal definition of victims of hostile acts is comprehensive, including, among other things, harm resulting from terrorist actions and acts of violence with a nationalistic motive. The law does not explicitly address mental injuries, possibly because it was introduced in Israel’s legal framework in 1970, when awareness of mental injuries was less developed. Nonetheless, many in Israel suffer severe mental harm due to hostile acts, including post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and other psychological distress. It’s important to note that in many cases, these individuals can be recognized as victims of hostile acts and may be entitled to compensation from the National Insurance Institute. We will elaborate on this below.
Under What Circumstances can Mental Injury Qualify as Victim of Hostile Acts?
As previously mentioned, the legal definition is broad, and accordingly, the law can apply to various cases of hostile acts and proximity to the event. Those physically harmed during a hostile act, resulting in mental harm, are likely to be recognized as victims of hostile acts. Furthermore, those who were present at the scene and witnessed the incident can indirectly be considered victims of hostile acts. This can also apply to individuals who arrive at the scene afterward to assist the victims and suffer psychological harm due to exposure to distressing scenes.
How to Claim Recognition as Victims of Hostile Acts for Mental Harm?
Recognition as victims of hostile acts is often initiated by the authorities. If this does not happen, individuals can independently file a claim for recognition as victims of a hostile act with the National Insurance Institute. It is crucial to provide all documents supporting the harm claim, such as medical records and security reports from the scene. These documents can include medical documentation, security personnel reports from the event, and more. One common issue is the absence of real-time documentation, meaning there is no documentation close to the event’s occurrence. Therefore, individuals who believe they are suffering from mental distress should seek assistance promptly and retain documents documenting their condition. After filing the claim and providing the relevant documents, the claim will be assessed by National Insurance Institute officials. During the evaluation, the Ministry of Defense will determine whether the incident indeed qualifies as a hostile act.
It’s important to note that there can be many challenges in the process of obtaining recognition as victims of hostile acts for mental distress or harm. These challenges may stem from the need to prove the mental injuries themselves, establish the causal link between them and the hostile act, and demonstrate that the event indeed qualifies as a hostile act. Additionally, the timing of the claim is crucial, as it must be filed within 12 months of the event. However, there may be exceptions, such as cases where mental distress worsened significantly later. Nevertheless, the passage of time can hinder the chances of the claim’s approval. Given the complexities of such claims, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a lawyer specialized in personal injury and National Insurance Institute law.
What Determines Recognition as Victims of Hostile Acts?
Those recognized as victims of hostile acts will be invited to a medical committee at the National Insurance Institute. The committee will determine the degree of disability for the victims, which will in turn determine the compensation amount. Those with a disability rating of over 10% but less than 20% will be eligible for a one-time grant from the National Insurance Institute. Those with a disability rating of 20% or higher will be eligible for a monthly fixed grant and various other benefits from the National Insurance Institute. These benefits may include coverage for hospitalization, treatment, medication, rehabilitation expenses, healing grants, and more. In some cases, benefits may also extend to family members to cover their support for the victims.
Contact a Specialized Lawyer for Personal Injury and National Insurance Institute Matters
In this article, we’ve outlined the scenarios in which mental distress or harm may entitle individuals to recognition as victims of hostile acts. If you have additional questions or need legal advice on any matter, please feel free to contact our law firm. Our legal team, based in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, specializes in personal injury and represents clients in claims before the National Insurance Institute and in legal proceedings.