Compensation for victims of vehicle-ramming attacks
Israel’s complex national security can sometime force its residents to unexpectedly deal with various insurance entities in order to be compensated after suffering injury in a terrorist attack. To receive compensation as victims of vehicle-ramming attacks, those injured must obtain confirmation that this was indeed a terrorist attack, and submit a medical opinion about the injury and the damage caused.
Who are victims of vehicle-ramming terrorist attacks?
Victims of vehicle-ramming terrorist attacks might be recognized as victims of a hostile actions pursuant to the Victims of Hostile Action (Pensions) Law 5730-1970. Section 1 of this law provides a broad definition for a victim of a hostile action. In essence, this term refers to any person who suffered physical, property, or psychological damage from the actions of enemy forces, from unintentional actions of Israeli security forces aiming to combat the enemy, or a violent act with the purpose of inflicting injury on another person because of their ethno-national origin. In addition, to comply with the definition, the victim must be a resident and a citizen of Israel, or a person lawfully staying in Israel. It’s more complicated to prove eligibility for compensation in the cases of victims of terrorist attacks who are not Israeli citizens or residents.
What compensation is available to victims of vehicle-ramming terrorist attacks?
Victims of vehicle-ramming terrorist attacks, who are recognized as victims of a hostile action, are eligible to receive compensation from the state, as well as allowances and other rights under the Victims of Hostile Action Law, and all according to the circumstances of each case. The law allows victims to receive monetary compensation for any damage caused to property as a result of a vehicle-ramming terrorist attack, and when concerning bodily injury caused in the attack, the victim might also have additional rights:
- Disability pensions for those recognized as disabled pursuant to the Disability (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Law, 5719-1959.
- Financing of medical, rehabilitation, and convalescence expenses, pursuant to the National Insurance Law.
- Medical convalescence pay, provided in accordance with a doctor’s recommendation, and subject to the approval of the National Insurance Institute.
- Assistance with housing.
- Assistance with ambulation.
- Financial and professional rehabilitation.
- Participation in health insurance payments.
- Allowances with respect to loss of income during the medical care period, and more.
In the case of people killed in hostile actions, their family members are eligible to receive pensions pursuant to the Fallen Soldier’s Families (Pensions and Rehabilitation) Law 7510-1950, and in addition, are eligible to receive a burial grant, which includes payment for burial expenses, the headstone’s maintenance, and the place of burial.
What is the process that terrorist attack victims need to undergo?
In order to receive compensation, the victim must be recognized as a victim of a hostile action. In most cases, the authorities will contact the victim, but if not, the victim must file a claim to the National Insurance Institute within three months when concerning bodily injury, or a file claim to the Tax Authority’s Compensation Fund within two weeks of the event, in cases of property damage.
After filing your claims, the National Insurance Institute or the Compensation Fund will contact the approving authority at the Ministry of Defense, to determine whether or not this was indeed a hostile action. You should receive the authority’s response within three months of submission, unless the authority decides to extend its examination for exceptional grounds.
After obtaining recognition from the approving authority at the Ministry of Defense, the victim will have to fill out a claim form to determine their disability level, and to receive a disability pension for victims of hostile attacks. The form must be submitted within a year of the date of injury, otherwise the victim’s chances to obtain allowances would be lower. Next, the victim is invited to appear before a medical committee, which will determine the victim’s disability level, and accordingly, the pension amount payable to them.
What documents should be attached to the application?
You’ll have to attach any document from a government authority indicating that the injury was caused as a result of a vehicle-ramming terrorist attack, rather than an ordinary road accident. In most cases, this will be a police or IDF report about the case, but sometimes victims are required to produce an approval from another entity in the Israeli security system responsible for the case.
In addition, the victim may attach a monetary estimate of the damage caused, whether it be property damage or bodily injury. In a property-related claim, the victim can present the damage caused to their property directly to the Compensation Fund, and the Fund reserves the right to estimate the damage through an appraiser on its behalf.
In cases of a physical injury, the victim can attach a medical expert opinion to the disability claim, even though, in this case, too, the National Insurance Institute’s medical committee may choose to ignore this medical opinion.
Can you appeal the decision of the Ministry of Defense’s approving authority or the National Insurance Institute’s committee?
Yes, in case the authority rejected the claim, the victim can appeal the approving authority’s decision to the appeals committee within two months of receiving the National Insurance Institute’s or the Compensation Fund’s rejection. Similarly, the medical committee’s decision can be appealed within 60 days following the notification of the decision.
What do you do in case of a vehicle-ramming terrorist attack that is also a work accident?
In case the vehicle-ramming terrorist attack took place during work, or while commuting to or from the workplace, the victim may file two claims to the National Insurance Institute. A work accident claim and a terrorist attack victim claim.
The reason for filing both claims simultaneously is that the benefits related to a work accident claim are mostly dependent on the claimant’s income prior to their injury, while the calculation basis for disability pensions for victims of hostile actions is provided in the Victims of Hostile Action Law.
After obtaining recognition of temporary or permanent disability in both tracks, the victim can choose one benefits track in order to receive rights and monetary compensation. We recommend consulting a lawyer in order to make the best choice most beneficial to the victim, since it’s difficult to change one’s choice of track once it’s been made.
Why is it important to consult a lawyer?
Under the Rights of Victims of Crime Law, a vehicle-ramming terrorist attack is different from a regular terrorist attack, since sometimes the injury may seem as a result of a road accident rather than a terrorist attack. This is why it’s highly important to obtain the legal representation of a skilled lawyer, who can guarantee your rights as victims of a hostile action.
Our law firm, located in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, is at your service. If you were involved in a vehicle-ramming terrorist attack and wish to seek compensation for victims of hostile actions, we will be happy to assist you. To receive more information and legal assistance with this issue, you’re welcome to schedule an appointment at our law firm.