A Guide to Claiming Criminal Injury Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a criminal injury we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a criminal injury and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

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 the 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 you 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 Gov.uk 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 can I claim for a criminal injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your criminal injury will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your criminal injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a criminal injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.

The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.

For example:

General damages for a serious arm injury can be £45,000

For a minor leg injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £7,500.

However, if you have a serious arm injury and a minor leg injury, you would typically receive £45,000 + a reduced percentage of £7,500.

Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries.

Read more about multiple injury claims

What is the average injury compensation for a criminal injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a criminal injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your criminal injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Will I have to pay tax on my criminal injury compensation?

If you receive financial compensation following a criminal injury injury, specific legislation ensures that you do not have to pay tax on it. This is the case no matter whether the compensation is received as a lump sum or as staggered payments.

Can I claim for an existing criminal injury that has got worse?

Yes, it is possible to pursue a claim in the event that a pre-existing medical condition, illness or injury is made worse or aggravated by an accident or someone else's negligence.

Criminal injury compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a criminal injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your criminal injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a criminal injury compensation claim take?

How long it can take to get compensation for a criminal injury compensation can vary significantly.

For example, if the CICA act quickly, a claim could be settled in a matter of weeks. However, if liability is denied a claim can take considerably longer. On average a criminal injury claim through the CICA takes 12 to 18 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, read:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for a criminal injury after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your criminal injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

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 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.

No win, no fee - the facts

No Win, No Fee is an agreement with your solicitor (known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) that means that you can make a criminal injury claim with:

  • no upfront legal fees
  • no solicitor's fees payable if your claim is not successful
  • a success fee payable only if your claim is successful

No Win, No Fee is the most common way to make a compensation claim.

No win, no fee guarantee

If you have been injured through no fault of your own, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making a criminal injury compensation claim.

What do I pay if I win my criminal injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my criminal injury claim?

If your criminal injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Why do most solicitors charge 25%?

25% success fees are charged by most law firms as this is the maximum fee that the Ministry of Justice allows them to charge. criminal injury claims can take a solicitor hundreds of hours work and they receive nothing if the case is lost. In some cases our solicitors can work on a reduced success fee. Call us for more information.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning criminal injury claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Criminal injury FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make a criminal injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the criminal injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your criminal injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a criminal injury after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim criminal injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a criminal injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

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