Anyone who suffers an injury because of a criminal act has a right to seek compensation for their physical and psychological injuries. Criminal injuries are considered under the same set of principles as personal injuries that may be caused by workplace or road accidents, slips and falls, industrial accidents or sports injuries.
As with all other personal injury claims, if you are injured in a criminal act that you were not involved in and that was due to no fault of yours, you have a right to compensation and should consider filing a claim.
3 Basic Requirements For Filing A Criminal Injury Claim
In order to file a compensation claim for criminal injuries, you must be able to establish three basic facts:
- The first fact that you need to prove is that you were a victim of a criminal act. You are considered a victim of a criminal act if you were the one who was attacked or even if you were a witness to a criminal act on another person.
- The second fact that you need to establish is that you were the innocent victim and that you were not involved in any way.
- The third fact that you will need to establish is that the act resulted in some kind of injury, whether physical or psychological. Proving that you suffered physical injuries is usually straightforward as the injuries are visible. However, proving that you have suffered a psychological injury can be difficult as these injuries are not visible.
Filing A Criminal Injury Claim If The Perpetrator Is Not Caught
If you are injured in a criminal act that was due to no fault of yours, you can file a criminal injury claim for compensation even if the assailant is not caught and no one has been convicted of the crime.
For example, if you were mugged or assaulted while walking down the street, chances are the person who mugged or assaulted you will be long gone. The odds of catching and convicting perpetrators in random street crimes are very low, especially if the crime occurred in a lonely or dark road and there are no witnesses.
However, during the incident you may have suffered some type of injury, whether it is a sprained wrist from defending yourself, bruises from being thrown to the ground or broken bones from being hit. Even if you do not suffer any physical injuries, you will almost certainly suffer from ongoing psychological trauma as you relive that dreaded moment over and over again. Victims of any type of crime often find it difficult to feel safe again. They suffer from panic attacks, stress and anxiety and struggle to continue living their life as they did before.
If no one has been or convicted of the crime that caused your injuries, it does not mean you should forfeit your right to compensation. The only two conditions that are required for filing a compensation claim for criminal injuries are that a criminal act occurred and your injuries are a direct result of that criminal act.
Since it is not possible to seek compensation from an identified assailant, the CICA or Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority takes on the responsibility of handling criminal injury claims. This government funded organisation makes sure that victims of crime get the justice and compensation that is due to them irrespective of whether or not anybody has been arrested or convicted of the crime.
Filing A Criminal Injuries Claim As A Witness
Witnessing a violent crime may not result in any physical injuries but the psychological damage that is caused is no less devastating even if it is not immediately visible.
If you witnessed somebody being beaten up or you were witness to a violent road rage incident or an armed robbery, you may be physically unharmed but the mental trauma that results from witnessing such acts can have a profound effect. You may find yourself feeling anxious whenever you have to leave the house or you may start looking over your shoulder while walking down the street wondering if the next time you may be the victim and not the witness.
All of these reactions are a direct result of witnessing the criminal act and they can affect your life considerably. The persistent anxiety may make it difficult for you to go to work every day or to pursue your outdoor hobbies because you are afraid of leaving your home. This can affect your earning capacity and your social life, which are just two of many ways that you may be affected as a witness to a criminal act.
Criminal Injury Claims Solicitors
Criminal injury claims are handled by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. However they have very stringent policies in place and will dismiss any case that does not meet their requirements. If you make a mistake in your application or you do not meet all of their requirements, they can dismiss your case, in which case you will not have any other way to get the compensation due to you.
Personal injury solicitors who specialise in criminal injury cases are aware of the intricacies of filing a claim with the CICA. We will make sure that your claim meets all of their requirements so there is zero chance that it will get dismissed. Also, we will help you file your claim on a No Win No Fee agreement, which in basic speak means you do not pay any legal fees until after the case is closed. You are only liable to pay is when the case is successful. Generally this fee will be equal to a percentage of the compensation that has been awarded to you by the court.
If you were a victim of a crime or you witnessed a criminal act, speak with us today to explore your right to compensation.