Who pays the compensation in a criminal injury claim?

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If you are involved in an accident, you would normally claim compensation from the insurer of the person, company, or organisation who caused you injuries. If you are injured in a criminal assault, the offender is unlikely to be insured, however. You may not even know the defendant's identity.

You still have the right to pursue an injury claim but who would ultimately pay you the compensation for any injury you suffered.

Can I take legal action against the offender?

Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to take legal action against the offender directly. In many cases this will not be practical or possible if, for example:

The offender is cannot be identified.

This is quite a common scenario with certain types of street crimes like a mugging or random attack.

You cannot prove that the offender caused your injuries.

To succeed in a personal injury claim, you must show, on a 'balance of probabilities', that the defendant's actions caused your injuries.

This balance of probabilities is a lesser burden of proof than is required by a criminal court. With a criminal court, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will need to prove that the offender committed the crime 'beyond reasonable doubt'. This distinction means that a personal injury claim might where a criminal case might not.

The offender cannot afford to pay compensation

If the defendant cannot afford to pay, winning your case won't help you receive compensation.

So what's the alternative?

Recognising that injured victims of crime cannot be left without compensation, the government established the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) to administer a government-funded compensation scheme. CICA pays compensation to people who have been physically or psychologically injured as a result of another's crime.

The offender does not have to be convicted, or even caught or identified, before you can make a claim. CICA's only requirements are that you were unwittingly caught up in a criminal act and suffered injury as a result.

Making a claim

Claims must be reported to CICA within two years of the incident. This differs from personal injury claims which carry a three-year time limit.

CICA pay a specific amount for each injury according to a set tariff, starting at £1,000. Serious injuries attract a greater award than injuries that do not have a permanent disabling effect on your life. The maximum payout is £500,000.

Generally, you do not a solicitor to make a claim. However, the more information you can present to CICA, the stronger your case will be. An experienced criminal injuries solicitor can help you gather police and medical records in order to receive the maximum amount of compensation which will allow you to start putting your life back together.

Do I always have to claim through CICA?

No. If you can identify the offender and establish that he has sufficient funds to pay your compensation, it is possible to file a private personal injury claim. A second exception is if you are injured while at work and you employer did not take reasonable measures to protect you. In this scenario, you can make a claim against your employer.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and 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 376 1001 or arrange a callback:

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Chris Salmon, Director

Author:
Chris Salmon, Director