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Making a compensation claim if you have been injured in a violent crime

View profile for Kate Sweeney
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If you have been the innocent victim of a violent crime and injured mentally or physically as a result, you may be able to seek compensation from the government by making an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). 

The CICA deals with these applications, which must be submitted to them within two years of the crime taking place and whilst it is possible for an injured person to submit a claim themselves we cannot stress enough the importance of obtaining professional expert advice before submitting a claim.

All too often we are approached by people after they have submitted a claim, which has then been rejected making it much more difficult to assist and get the claim back on track. It also of course makes what is already a long process, even more lengthy.

It should be remembered that the CICA is an executive agency, sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, and with limited funds available to pay compensation to victims. The result of this is that the CICA can take an extremely long time to deal with applications made to them (on average two years), has limited funds to pay compensation to victims of crime (so many injuries are rejected as they do not fall within the tariffs outlined by the CICA scheme) and reject many applications for a variety of different reasons, sometimes spurious.

Your application may be rejected for one of the following reasons:

If you have unspent convictions, do not apply for compensation under the CICA scheme

You must submit your application once any convictions are spent. If you are unsure that your conviction is spent or not please speak to us and we can check and advise.

It is absolutely vital that you report the crime to the police

You must cooperate fully with the police, which means giving them a statement the first time they ask, providing them with as much information as possible about the assailant(s) and details of any witnesses etc. Without a crime reference number a CICA application cannot be submitted, but it isn’t just about getting this crime reference number, you have to work with the police to assist them as fully and swiftly as possible so they can do their job in apprehending the perpetrators of the crime.

You must report the crime in a reasonable time

Even if you are injured, you are expected to notify the crime to the police as soon as possible. Many claims are rejected because the crime wasn’t reported to the police soon enough to enable them to take steps to apprehend the person(s) responsible for the crime, or because once reported, the individual failed to cooperate with the police by refusing to provide a statement, or simply not returning calls to the police etc.

Any application to the CICA must be made within two years of the crime taking place

Some crimes are historic, and it is best to seek professional advice regarding historical claims, as certain information would need to be included on the application to ensure a valid claim could be submitted and reasons given for why the claim wasn’t made sooner.

A common misconception we hear about from people who have delayed submitting a claim is that they thought they had to wait until their attacker was convicted and the trial completed. This is not the case. In many cases, the perpetrator of the crime isn’t even arrested or charged, let alone convicted at trial. The key issues are to report the crime to the police without delay and complete your application as fully as possible and submit well within the two year time limit. There is no requirement to await the outcome of a trial or investigation.

The injury you have sustained must fall within the tariff of injuries detailed under the CICA 2021 scheme

The lowest bracket of injury attracts an award of £1,000 but many injuries don’t reach this minimum level. As your legal advisor we would assess the injury/injuries you have sustained and ascertain if it is eligible for compensation under the scheme.

Many people have their claims rejected because their injury does not fall within the tariff of injuries prescribed by the 2012 scheme and are disappointed but there is no way around this and the CICA do not exercise any discretion in allowing claims that do not fall within the injuries in the tariff.

Psychological injuries must be diagnosed

Many victims of a crime suffer psychological damage only and do not sustain any physical injury. If you have suffered psychologically as a result of a crime, whether as a single injury or in combination with physical injuries you will only be entitled to compensation from the CICA if your psychological injury has been diagnosed by a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. 

If you have suffered multiple injuries as a result of a violent crime, the CICA only pays compensation for the three most serious injuries, and this is done on a sliding scale. 100% compensation for the most serious injury, 30% for the second most serious and 15% for the third most serious injury.

Many people do not realise this and again, believe they are entitled to more compensation than the CICA is offering.

The above is just a brief outline about CICA claims. They are complex and making an application is not a straightforward thing to do, which is why we would urge anyone in this position to speak to us before submitting a claim. We can assist and hopefully avoid any claim being rejected and maximise any potential compensation award. We may also advise that we don’t think a CICA application is going to be successful as not all are.

If you have been the victim of a violent crime and believe you may be entitled to compensation under the CICA scheme please contact one of our specialist advisors on 0175 321 6399.

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