Criminal injury compensation claims

If you or a loved one are injured as the result of a violent attack or assault, you could be entitled to compensation from the government.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)  is a government-run organisation which deals with compensation claims from blameless victims of violent crime in England, Scotland and Wales.

The CICA sets out the criteria and amounts of compensation, which can be awarded for both physical and mental injury

Compensation can either be applied for through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme directly, which is administered by the CICA.  Alternatively Claimants can claim with the help of a solicitor.

Should I apply with the help of a solicitor?

Many victims of violent crime choose to seek compensation from the CICA with the help of a personal injury solicitor.

A solicitor may even be able to help you make a claim if the perpetrator was never identified or caught.

Why should I use a solicitor rather than handling the claim myself?

Our specialist panel of criminal injury solicitors have helped hundreds of clients successful claim compensation from the CICA.

The benefits of seeking assistance of a solicitor include:

  • clear, impartial and non-conflicted advice throughout the claim
  • letting you move on with your life, rather than being constantly reminded of events as a result of constant correspondence with the CICA.
  • fighting and appealing rejections.  A significant percentage of claims are rejected on a technicality.  A solicitor will advise on making an application that minimises the risk of your claim being rejected.  If it is rejected, the solicitor can handle the appeal process.
  • Make sure you get the right amount of compensation.  All too often the CICA pay too little compensation.  A solicitor will help ensure that your receive the right amount.

What does the compensation cover?

Both victims of violent crime and someone whose loved one has died as the result of violent crime could be eligible for compensation.

You may also be eligible if you witnessed a loved one falling victim to violent crime and have suffered physically or psychologically as a result.

All incidents for which a claim is made must have been reported to the police. If you did not report the incident when it happened, an explanation must be given to CICA.

The CICA will then assess whether or not the delay was reasonable.

The website states that claims for the following can be considered:

  • Mental or physical injury following a crime of violence
  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • Loss of earnings - where you have no or limited capacity to work as the direct result of a criminal injury
  • Special expenses payments - these cover certain costs you may have incurred as a direct result of an incident. These will only be considered if your injuries mean you have been unable to work or have been incapacitated to a similar extent for more than 28 weeks.
  • A fatality caused by a crime of violence including bereavement payments, payments for loss of parental services and financial dependency, and funeral payments.

Compensation ranges from £1,000 to £500,000 (your injury must exceed the minimum £1,000 compensation tariff for you to be eligible).

You may not be eligible to claim if…

  • You failed to report the incident to the police as soon as was practical, and cannot demonstrate exceptional circumstances as to why
  • You have already applied for an award under the scheme for the same criminal injury
  • You have not cooperated with police, have a criminal record for certain offences or have an unspent conviction, or if your conduct contributed to the assault.

Types of violent crime covered

These are many and varied, and include:

  • Actual bodily harm and grievous bodily harm
  • Any sexual contact without consent
  • Common assault and criminal assault
  • Assault in: a prison, a public place, at work
  • Assault with a weapon
  • Domestic assault
  • Assault by a security guard
  • Fatality as the result of an assault

Time limits on applying for compensation 

For victims over 18:

If you fall victim to a violent crime as an adult, you must apply for compensation no later than two years after the incident occurred, unless there are exceptional circumstances which made it impractical for you to apply within this time. 

If you make a claim more than two years after the incident in which you were injured:

  • Evidence must be provided to CICA to prove that you were unable to make a claim any sooner.
  • Sufficient evidence relating to your claim must be provided to enable the claims officer handling your case to make a decision without further extensive enquiries.

For victims under 18:

If you are under 18, a parent or guardian can apply for compensation on your behalf and you have longer in which to apply. If the violence or abuse is historical and you are over 18, the guidance is as follows:

  • If the incident or incidents were reported to the police before you turned 18 and nobody else made a claim for you, you have until your 20th birthday to make a claim.
  • If you were under 18 at the time of the incident and it was not reported to the police, you have up to two years to make a claim from the date you report it to the police.
  • If you are making a claim more than two years after the incident or incidents, supporting evidence must be provided so that your claims officer will not have to carry out further extensive enquiries before making a decision.
  • If you apply outside the allocated time limits, evidence will be required as to why you were unable to apply sooner.

Remember that the sooner you apply for compensation the better, as the more recent the incident was the easier it is to collect evidence and recall important detail.

How much compensation might I be entitled to?

How much can I claim?

This depends on the type of injury you have; it must be listed in CICA’s ‘tariff of injuries’. If you have more than one injury, these will be assessed according to which is the most serious. The scheme will only compensate for a maximum of three injuries.

If you have an existing injury that was made worse by a violent assault, you may also be eligible for compensation.

Examples of the compensation awarded include:

  • A whiplash injury lasting more than 13 weeks: £1,000
  • A fractured jaw: £1,500
  • Losing a front tooth: £1,500
  • Serious facial scarring: £2,400

Final things to consider

  • The scheme is designed to be a last resort rather than a first port of call. The CICA will expect you to have taken reasonable steps to seek compensation or financial support from other sources before resorting to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (via insurance, social security benefits, damages from the assailant etc). 
  • You may be eligible for compensation regardless of whether the perpetrator of the violent crime was identified or convicted.
  • A criminal injury solicitor is specifically trained to manage the compensation application for you, and many operate on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. Seeking compensation can be an emotional and drawn out process, so it is worth considering taking on a solicitor to manage it for you.

How to start a no win no fee claim

Starting a claim is a straightforward process.  A short, no obligation phone conversation with one of our solicitors will let you know where you stand and answer any questions you may have.

If you decide that you would like to pursue a claim, the solicitor will send you an information pack.  The pack will contain everything you need to know including details of how no win no fee works.

How can Quittance help?

Our highly experienced solicitors have an excellent track record of winning criminal injury claims and will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, call FREE on 0800 488 0618 or click here to arrange a callback.

We are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

  • 100% No Win, No Fee
  • Free Consultation
  • No Obligation to Start a Claim
  • Longer Opening Hours
  • Criminal Injury Experts
Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert