The Personal Injury Blog

Compensation for Victims of Crime: A Guide

If you have been the victim of a violent crime and have suffered physical and/or psychological injury as a result, you may be able entitled to claim compensation. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a government body which compensates victims of violent crime. This scheme was first introduced in 1964.

CICA awards are tariff based and are generally less than civil compensation (ie. damages recovered by pursuing a civil claim against the person responsible for your injuries). The tariff scheme sets out fixed awards of compensation based on the nature and severity of the injury. Loss of earnings is not normally paid unless the victim has been absent from work for a period of 28 weeks.

It is possible to pursue a civil claim and make an application to the CICA in tandem, however if civil compensation is received any award from the CICA must be paid back. Usually it is not worthwhile bringing a civil claim against a person who caused the injury as they are likely to be uninsured or have no substantial personal assets with which to pay an award of compensation.

If you are considering making a CICA application you should be aware of the following:

Time Limits:

The general rule is that criminal injury claims should be made by the applicant to the CICA as soon as is reasonably practicable after the incident giving rise to the application and in any event within 2 years of the date of the incident. Do not wait until the outcome of any court Hearing, even if your assailant is not convicted you may still receive compensation. The test for CICA eligibility is different to establishing a court conviction. Compensation is paid to “blameless victims of crime” not because the attacker has been convicted of a criminal offence.

Eligibility:

An individual is eligible to make a CICA claim if:

  • They are a British citizen or a close relative
  • They are European
  • They are a victim of a crime of violence
  • They have reported the crime to the police and fully cooperated with any enquiries

Your Injuries

You will need to check your injuries are covered by the CICA scheme. The CICA do take a long time to consider a claim, often longer than a year. There’s no point in applying if the CICA do not pay compensation for the type of injury you have suffered.

There is a threshold value of £1000 for personal injury compensation so an award will only be made if the injury has a value that exceeds £1000. For example whilst an undisplaced fracture of the nose would meet the threshold, simple bruising to the nose with discomfort for a few days and without the need for medical intervention would fall below the threshold value and no compensation would be paid.

Anxiety is not covered by the scheme unless it has been clinically diagnosed by a Psychiatrist or a Consultant Psychologist. We will be able to advise you as to whether your injuries are covered.

Grounds for Withholding or Reducing Awards

  • Unspent Convictions: the CICA can reduce or withhold payment if you have any unspent criminal convictions even if they are not related to your application (as unfair as they may seem).
  • Conduct: The CICA will consider an applicant’s conduct before, during and after the incident to consider if it contributed to the incident.
  • Cooperation: The award may also be reduced if you do not cooperate with the CICA and reasonably assist them during your application, such as responding to requests for information and letting them know if you have changed address.
  • Failure to Report to the Police: The CICA will withhold an award if an applicant does not report the incident to the police. It is not necessary for the applicant themselves to report to the police, someone else can do it on their behalf.

If you require further advice and assistance about CICA claims, we have a team of expert lawyers who are experienced in helping people to make their application. We understand how difficult it can be for a victim of crime to talk about their experience and we offer confidential and sensitive assistance with your claim.

We will be able to advise as to whether you have a claim under the scheme. Our expert lawyers will complete the online application form on your behalf and thereafter the CICA will contact the police and any medical advisors before making you an award.

If you think you or someone you know may have a CICA claim please contact us on 0114 218 4000 or email info@tayloremmet.co.uk

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