If you are injured in during a violent crime against you, there’s a chance you could be compensated for any physical or psychological injuries. However, unlike a personal injury claim, your claim wouldn’t be made against the person responsible for your injuries. Instead, you could be compensated by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). This guide will explain when a criminal injury claim might be possible, the types of crimes you could claim for and what damages you could receive.
Our specialist advisors can help you to start a criminal injury claim by reviewing what happened during a free consultation. There’s no obligation to proceed with us but we’ll review your options and provide free legal advice on your next steps. If the claim meets the CICA eligibility criteria, we could ask one of our solicitors to represent you. If they agree to help, they’ll work for you on a No Win, No Fee basis so you won’t pay any fees if the claim is unsuccessful.
To see if you could make a criminal injury compensation claim, please get in touch on 0800 652 1345 today. Alternatively, read on to find out more about when you might be able to claim for criminal injuries.
What is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority?
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a government agency that operates the criminal injuries compensation scheme. Essentially, they handle claims through the scheme and decide how much compensation should be awarded.
Initially, a CICA officer will check that the claim meets the eligibility criteria for the scheme. If they are happy that it does, they will use the scheme’s tariff of injuries to determine how much compensation might be awarded.
The process of claiming for criminal injuries can be stressful and it can be exhausting having to justify why you should be compensated. Our solicitors can remove a lot of that stress by handling most of the work involved for you. If you’d like us to help you make a criminal injury claim, please get in touch.
What crimes can be compensated through a criminal injury claim?
Criminal injury claims through the CICA can be made for injuries sustained during violent crimes. They include:
- Sexual violence (sexual abuse and rape).
- Historical abuse.
Criteria for criminal injury claims through CICA
As criminal injury claims are handled by the CICA, they have their own set of criteria compared with other types of compensation claims. Some of the main criteria for CICA claims include:
- You must’ve been a victim of a violent crime.
- An injury (or injuries) must’ve been sustained during the crime.
- You must not have caused the crime through provocation or other similar acts.
- The crime must have been reported to the police as soon as possible after the crime occurred (i.e. you can provide a crime reference number).
- The crime must have happened in England, Wales, Scotland (or another relevant place as per the scheme’s conditions).
If all of the above are true, you may be entitled to make a criminal injury claim through the CICA. Other criteria might also apply but we can check if you’re eligible to claim as part of your initial consultation and one of our solicitors may agree to represent you on a No Win, No Fee basis if the claim is strong enough.
Proving that a crime has been committed
In personal injury claims, you must be able to prove beyond doubt that the defendant caused your injuries because they were negligent. In CICA claims, that is not necessarily the case.
You can begin a criminal injury claim even if the criminal was never caught, charged, prosecuted or imprisoned. That’s because CICA officers assess claims on a ‘balance of probabilities’ rather than the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ procedures used by criminal courts.
As such, even if the perpetrator of your crime was never identified, you could claim compensation so long as a) you report the crime and b) you work with police and provide as much information about the criminal as you can.
Criminal injury claims time limits
As with any other type of claim, criminal injury claims have a time limit. However, at 2 years, the CICA claims time limit is not as long as personal injury claims for example (3 years).
Usually, the limitation period will start from the date you were injured. However, that may not always be possible especially if you’re claiming compensation for historical abuse where you did not feel able to tell the police about the crime until later on in life. In these circumstances, CICA can use their discretion to extend the limitation period to allow it to begin from the date you reported the crime.
If an individual under 18 years old is injured in a violent crime and wishes to claim through the CICA, they’ll have:
- 2 years to claim beginning on their 18th birthday (if the incident was reported to the police before their 18th birthday); or
- within two years of the incident first being reported to the police (if it was reported to the police on or after their 18th birthday).
If the individual cannot make a criminal injury claim themselves, anyone with parental responsibility could make an application on the child’s behalf.
What does criminal injury compensation cover?
The first thing CICA looks at when deciding how much compensation to pay for criminal injuries is your physical and mental injuries. You can claim for the three most serious of your injuries. If the claim is successful, you would receive:
- 100% compensation for your most serious injury.
- 30% compensation for the next.
- 15% for the least serious of your injuries.
While that might not seem perfect, it does allow the CICA to compensate as many people as possible.
Common injuries resulting from criminal acts
Some of the most common injuries caused by criminal acts include:
- Psychological injuries (depression, distress and anxiety).
- Broken bones and skull fractures.
- Stab wounds and lacerations.
- Brain injuries.
- Loss of teeth or jaw damage.
If you have suffered any form of injury in a violent crime and would like us to check if you could receive compensation for your suffering, please contact our team today.
Expenses covered by criminal injury claims
If your injuries prevent you from working for more than 28 weeks, you could be entitled to claim ‘special damages’ through the CICA. These are costs or expenses incurred as a result of your injuries.
This could cover the following expenses:
- Replacing physical aids damaged as a result of the crime against you (spectacles, walking sticks, dentures etc).
- Physical aids or specially adapted vehicles to help you cope with ongoing disabilities.
- Home adaptations (inside or outside) such as ramps, stair lifts or handrails.
- Care costs if you need support with your normal bodily functions or food preparation.
- Medical treatment costs.
If you claim special expenses in a criminal injury claim, they must:
- Be linked to your criminal injuries and necessary;
- Not be claimable from other sources such as the NHS or the benefits system;
- Be priced reasonably.
If you’d like us to assess what expenses you might be entitled to through a criminal injury claim, please get in touch for a free initial consultation.
Loss of earnings from a criminal act
One expense that can be very costly following a criminal injury is a reduction in earnings. Fortunately, if you’re eligible to claim through the CICA, you may also be entitled to claim back any lost income.
The eligibility criteria for this payment requires you to:
- Have sustained an injury that stopped you from working altogether or to a very limited capacity.
- Prove that you were working at the time you were injured (or have a good reason for not working in the 3 years prior to the incident).
- Be unable to work for at least 28 weeks. Any payment would begin from the 29th week after you were injured.
Fatal criminal injury
We know that no amount of compensation is likely to help you recover if you’ve lost a loved one following a criminal act. However, under the CICA scheme, qualifying relatives may be entitled to bereavement payments. Those who might qualify include:
- The deceased’s children.
- Civil partners or spouses (and former partners in certain circumstances).
- Parents of the deceased.
In addition, fatal injury claims may include:
- A payment to cover your financial dependence on the deceased.
- A child’s loss of love, affection, care and other parental support.
- A payment to cover your physical dependence on the deceased i.e. if they were your carer.
- Funeral expenses and other costs linked to the loss of your love one.
We understand how difficult you may find it to discuss your loss with someone else but our advisors are specially trained and will work compassionately at a speed that suits you. If you have any questions about how we can help with fatal criminal injury claims, please call today to discuss your options.
Providing proof for a criminal injury claim
As mentioned above, the crime against you doesn’t necessarily need to have been proven for you to be compensated through the CICA scheme. That said, your solicitor will still try to collect proof to help the CICA officer. This could include:
- Medical evidence. X-rays and medical notes from the hospital that treated your injuries could be obtained to help confirm your diagnosis.
- Photographs. If you have any visible injuries, it’s a good idea to take pictures of them throughout your recovery.
- CCTV recordings. If the criminal act that caused your injuries was recorded on camera, you could make a request for a copy of the footage.
- Police records. Your solicitor will provide the crime reference number you were given to the CICA officer so they can access details of your crime from the police. They may also be sent information about the proof the police have gathered whilst investigating the crime.
Importantly, you must work with the CICA officer and cooperate with any requests they make. Failure to do so could result in your claim and any subsequent compensation being refused.
No Win, No Fee claims
We believe that the chances of winning any type of compensation claim increase if the claimant has legal representation. We also believe that a fairer amount of compensation is more likely. However, we do understand that many claimants are concerned about losing money on legal fees. As such, our solicitors offer a No Win, No Fee service for any criminal injury claim they agree to work on.
If your claim is accepted, your solicitor will send you a No Win, No Fee agreement to review. Once signed, your solicitor will be able to:
- Start gathering proof, medical records and police reports relating to your claim.
- File the claim with the CICA.
- Manage all correspondence with the CICA on your behalf.
- Inform you of any settlement offers and review them with you to check that they represent your level of suffering.
If your claim is not won, you won’t have to pay any legal fees whatsoever.
Start a criminal injury claim today
We are here to help if you are looking to start a criminal injury claim today. By calling our specialists on 0800 652 1345, you’ll be connected with a specialist advisor who will review your options for free. As well as providing legal advice, they could connect you with one of our solicitors if the claim is strong enough.
If a claim is accepted, your solicitor will work on a No Win, No Fee basis. In our experience, knowing that you’ll only pay legal fees if your claim is won should make the claims process less stressful.
Please consider using our live chat service if you have any other questions on criminal injury claims.