Stabbings, shootings and muggings are sadly too commonplace in the UK but if you have been the innocent victim of such crimes of violence, did you know that you could be entitled to claim compensation for your physical and psychiatric injuries from the publicly-funded Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)?
Who can claim?
Most people who have suffered more than minor injuries as a result of a crime of violence can claim CICA damages, although as you might expect, there are a number of stipulations. Critically:
- The crime must have occurred in either England, Scotland or Wales. There is a different process in Northern Ireland
- You must have reported the crime to the police before claiming
- Whilst it isn’t essential that an offender is caught and convicted, you must cooperate with the police investigation
- You must be a UK or EU citizen, a family member of a UK or EU citizen with a right to be in the UK, a member of HM Armed Forces, a potential victim of human trafficking, an asylum seeker or be a national of a country that has signed up to the Council of Europe Convention on the Compensation of Victim of Violent Crimes*
- Your claim must be received by the CICA within 2-years of the incident. The rules are different for victims of historical sexual abuse
- Awards are based upon a fixed tariff scheme and your injuries must be worth more than the lowest end of that tariff, which is £1000. A split lip is unlikely to meet the criteria
- If you deliberately took part in or you provoked a fight, then an award may be reduced or even refused
- If you have previously been convicted of certain crimes, the CICA may reduce or, in some instances, refuse an award
- Similarly, your character may be called into question which may result in an award being refused. Examples include tax or benefit fraud and involvement in drugs
- You cannot claim through the CICA if you are the injured victim of an uninsured or hit and run driver. You must instead use the Motor Insurers’ Bureau Scheme
- Criminal injuries awards are capped at £500,000
What can I claim?
You can claim for the following criminal injuries:
- Physical injuries including scarring
- Psychological injuries
- Sexual or physical abuse
- The death of a loved one
- Your loss of earnings – albeit only beyond 28-weeks
- Help with care costs, home adaptations, medical aids and equipment
There are also schemes for UK victims of terrorist attacks abroad and for those who have been injured in acts of crime in the EU*. Some other countries have their own schemes, but you would need to apply directly to that country.
How do I claim?
Claims for criminal injuries are made using an online portal via the CICA website. The link is here.
The CICA will not pay your legal fees although in an easy to prove, low value criminal injuries claim, it may not be in your overall best interests to pay for legal advice. You might ask a trusted friend or relative to apply on your behalf or you can attempt to get advice from your local Citizens Advice or other victim support organisations.
So why use Alma Law?
Whilst we hasten to advise that there is no rule which says you must take legal advice, in a complicated, modest to high value criminal injuries claim involving serious crimes of violence and serious injury, it would be folly to go it alone with the CICA.
For a modest fee, agreed in advance and payable at the very end, and only if the application is successful, we can skilfully prepare the application for you and liaise throughout with the CICA on your behalf, just as in a normal personal injury claim. We would need your permission to obtain a copy of your medical records and we will then gather and compile all the necessary supporting evidence, such as doctors’ reports** and witness statements, each of which will give a fuller picture of the effect the injuries have on your day to day activities, thus giving you a far greater chance of obtaining the maximum damages you deserve.
The more complex the case, the greater the incentive should be for getting expert legal advice and support from Alma Law. Contact us today.
*What will happen after Great Britain leaves the EU at the end of March 2019 is not known
**Doctors may charge a fee for a report