Do you handle criminal injury claims?

Introduction

Every year up to 40,000 applications for compensation are made in England and Wales as a result of violent assaults, muggings and sexual assaults. (sce.)

The latest figures reveal that 55% of these claims were for £3,000 or less, but the awards range from £1,000 to £250,000 (sce.)

Criminal injuries compensation can be claimed under the government "Crimes of Violence" category. The case claimed for must meet specific criteria in order to receive the award. These terms are detailed in the CICA rules and regulations.

Criminal injury compensation claims can be pursued either:

  1. by applying to the 'Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority' or 'CICA'
  2. by taking civil action through the Courts.
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Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS) is a government funded scheme designed to compensate blameless victims of violent crime in Great Britain.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), administer the CICS and decide on the outcome of all claims.

The scheme is intended as a last resort where there is no other method of compensation (e.g. insurance) available.

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Can you claim?

The criteria for making a successful claim through the CICS specifies that the Claimant must:

  • be the victim of a violent crime
  • have reported it to the police
  • be able to show that the injury was sustained as a result of the crime.
  • the value of the injury claim must exceed £1,000
  • start the claim within 2 years of the incident
  • not have provoked the assailant

The CICS does not insist that the criminal is convicted or even traced.

A claim can also be made by people whose loved ones have died as a result of a violent crime.

If your relative has died as a result of an incident you may be eligible for a bereavement claim.

You will be able to claim if you are:

  • a spouse or civil partner of the deceased
  • a partner who lived with the deceased for at least 2 years before death
  • a former spouse or civil partner who was financially dependent on the deceased
  • a parent or child of the deceased

The detailed criteria concerning who is eligible for payments can be found here.

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Time limits for making a CICA criminal injury claim

Civil personal injury claims, in most cases, have a time limit of three years after the injury. Criminal injury claims to the CICA must usually be made within two years of the criminal incident.

In the case of criminal injuries sustained by children, the two year limit applies from the date of the child's 18th birthday. In sensitive cases involving abuse, the CICA may waive the time limit, instead applying it from the date the crime is first reported to the police.

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How much compensation could be paid for a criminal injury?

The rules of the CICS and the value of the payments awarded are set by Parliament and are calculated with reference to a tariff of injuries. The scheme was introduced to ensure that victims of violent crime are suitably compensated.

Damages for loss of property are not covered under the CICS.

Deductions are often made is the Claimant has prior convictions.

For an estimate of what your injury may be worth - call us on 0800 612 7456.

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How long does it take to obtain compensation?

CICA publish yearly figures on the applications process. Although the number of applications being dealt with reduced, the latest published figures (2011/2-2012/13) revealed that the average time taken to reach a decision increased from 7.8 months to 8.8 months. (sce.)

Civil claims pursued through the Courts may settle long before they reach a Courtroom with financial compensation being agreed without the matter dragging on for too long.

More complicated claims typically take longer to conclude.

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What are the chances of a compensation claim being successful

If claiming compensation through the CICS, the chances of success are increased by reporting the claim quickly.

The CICA encourages claims to be made "as soon as possible" but within a time limit of up to 2 years. It is possible to ask for an extension if evidence is shown proving the claim could not have been made earlier.

The CICS does not need to wait for a trial to happen, as it uses the legal basis of 'balance of probabilities' meaning what is the most likely version of events, not the criminal court test which is "beyond reasonable doubt".

In practice this means that CICA can make an award before a trial ever happens, or make an award where the prosecution is unsuccessful for some reason.

The CICS requires the violent crime to be reported to the police as a prerequisite. In cases where there is a delay in reporting it the CICA will ask for detail as to why and take this into account.

If the first application to the CICA is rejected, there is an appeals process: the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel (CICAP). CICAP can be approached in the case of rejection but only within 90 days of the initial decision, which your solicitor will deal with for you.

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.

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