If you type the words ‘criminal injuries’ into your web browser and then click on the ‘news’ section of the menu at the top of the page, it’s likely that you’ll see a list of headlines, such as:
‘Teenage boy rushed to hospital with head injury following robbery’
‘Man stabbed after confronting a criminal’.
Take a look at the body of the articles that accompany most reports like these, and you will notice that the injured parties are usually entirely innocent victims of crime.
Being injured as a result of a criminal assault or just through being in the wrong place at the wrong time, is a frightening experience, as well as a painful one.
Is there some way that the victims of crime can get compensation?
There is and the most common way of getting compensated, is by submitting a claim to the CICA.
The CICA is the abbreviated name for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. This government body runs the criminal injuries compensation scheme, which pays out compensation to injured victims of crime.
If you are reading this article because you’ve been hurt by someone who was in the act of committing a crime, then it is likely that you already know that you are entitled to make a claim for criminal injuries compensation and are just looking for more information.
However, the statistics that are publicly available, suggest that there are likely to be many people who could be claiming for compensation from the CICA, but are not.
The CICAs annual report for 2019/2020, revealed that during the year in question it had received 32,895 new applications for criminal injuries compensation. It also resolved i.e. settled and paid out on, 35,618 cases.
The Office for National Statistics reports that for the year ending March 2020, over 500,000 crimes of violence resulting in injury, were reported to the police.
From this, it is evident that the number of people who make CICA claims every year is a very small proportion of those injured as a result of another person’s criminal act.
Why do so relatively few people make CICA claims?
1. They get compensation for the assault from another source.
a) By suing the person who injured you.
In some cases, the victim of a crime may pursue a civil personal injury claim against the perpetrator of the crime, instead of pursuing a CICA claim. An injured victim of crime may get more compensation awarded to them by a court if they take out a civil personal injury claim against the offender.
This is because the CICA scheme awards set fixed amounts of compensation amounts depending on the type and severity of injury you suffered, with a minimum award of £1000 and a maximum of £500,000.
That being said, unless the person who injured you is known to be a person of sound financial means, then the chances are that you may get what’s known as a ‘paper judgement’. In other words, although you would probably win your civil case for injury compensation, the chances of getting the compensation from the person who caused those injuries, may be fairly slim.
b) If the person who injured you is successfully prosecuted in the criminal court, the court may award you some compensation.
Any compensation that is received by virtue of the circumstances outlined in a) and b) above, would have to be offset against the amount of money that is awarded by the CICA. The compensation awarded in a civil claim, may often exceed the amount that would be awarded by the CICA. In that case the CICA would end up paying out nothing.
2. There is a lack of awareness about being able to make a CICA claim after an assault.
One of the reasons more people do not make criminal injuries claims, is because they don’t know that they can. Others may have a vague idea that there is some form of scheme for compensating the victims of crime, but don’t have any real idea what they can claim for and so don’t bother.
With that in mind, the list below indicates what it is possible to make a claim for:
- Physical injuries
- A disabling mental injury – one that significantly affects day to day life at work or school or that impinges on relationships or sex life. Mental injuries have to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist or a psychologist. To make a successful claim for psychological trauma, it’s not sufficient to provide just a GP’s report.
- Physical or Sexual abuse.
- The death of a close relative – the close relatives of someone who was killed as a result of an act of violent crime may be entitled to claim compensation from the CICA.
- The cost of the funeral of a victim of crime.
- Loss of earnings or paid expenses.
Loss of earnings will not be paid for the first 28 weeks that a person isn’t able to work as a result of the injuries sustained in the crime.
3. The injured victim has criminal convictions
If the injured victim of a crime has unspent criminal convictions, they may be denied any award for criminal injuries compensation altogether or they will have any award they do receive, reduced.
Those people who are regularly involved in criminal enterprises, are likely to know that a claim for criminal injuries compensation would not succeed and therefore won’t even try to claim. Either that, or they choose to accept that such injuries ‘go with the territory!’
4. Making a claim would bring back bad memories of the crime
There will be cases where a victim does not want to claim because they feel that by doing so, they will be constantly reminded of the incident that caused their injury. This may be particularly so, for the victims of sexual assault or domestic abuse or where the victim was subjected to an extremely violent assault.
5. Missed time limit for making a CICA claim
The time limit for making an application for criminal injuries compensation is 2 years from the date of the incident (for adults). Applications to the CICA made after the period has expired will not be entertained (unless there are exceptional circumstances).
6. There has been no criminal conviction
There is a mistaken belief that a person has to have been brought to justice for a criminally inflicted injury, before the victim of the crime can make a claim for compensation.
This is simply not the case. The incident, during which the assault took place must have been reported to the police ‘as soon as is reasonably practicable.’ We’d suggest that this is done on the same day of the incident or within a few days at least.
That is the only requirement. The offender doesn’t need to have been tried and convicted of a crime in a magistrate’s or crown court. In some cases, the perpetrator of the crime may never be identified. This will not necessarily prevent a successful CICA claim being made as long as the matter has been reported to the police
7. Is making a criminal injury claim worth the hassle?
Another factor as to why more people who could make a criminal injuries claim, don’t, is that they think it will cause them a lot of stress and inconvenience.
Some people are put off by the thought of having to deal with the application process, others by having to deal with a government body as well as the police and doctors.
Should I make a CICA claim?
If you have been the victim of a criminal assault or have otherwise suffered an injury sustained during the process of a crime committed by another person, then you are perfectly entitled to be recompensed for you’re the injury. What’s more you have absolutely nothing to lose by making a claim.
As experienced criminal injury compensation solicitors, we do though understand why victims of a crime might not want, the hassle associated with making a CICA claim themselves.
Alternatively, perhaps they may decide that they are prepared to forego getting the compensation that they are entitled to, because the process may bring back bad memories of the incident.
There is an alternative solution.
At Mooneerams solicitors, we have helped many clients to make successful criminal injury compensation claims throughout the years since we first opened our doors. In doing so, we’ve helped to remove some of the stress and worry that they had associated with the thought of going through the claims process by themselves.
If you are thinking about making a criminal injuries compensation claim, then why not call us, to see if we can help?
We mainly fund our clients legal representation in CICA claims, by means of a No Win, No Fee agreement.
Call Mooneerams now on 029 2048 3615 or send your details to us using our Contact Us page and we will call you back.