In the majority of personal injury claims there will inevitably be a certain amount of bartering as both sides contest how much a specific injury is “worth”.
Eventually, after a great deal of bartering, some form of compromise agreement will be reached, and a settlement will be agreed upon, dependent on the degree of fault involved in the personal injury claim. Many people wrongly assume that similar rules apply for any injury that was sustained as the result of an attack. However, this is not the case as the rules for compensation are different. In such cases the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, a government-appointed, publicly-funded organisation, makes the final decision about the level of compensation that should be paid.
It’s important to note that there is no room for bartering or manoeuvre where criminal injuries are involved: indeed, the rules set out by the Criminal Injuries Board are strict and prescriptive. Injuries have to be of a certain severity to qualify for compensation, and will need to fall within the 25 prescribed levels of criminal compensation before the Authority will pay out a sum which can vary between £1,000 and £250,000. The maximum amount any injured party can receive in criminal injury compensation cases, after all losses and expenses have been considered is £500,000.
What needs to be ‘proven’ before compensation is paid?
Anyone seeking to make a claim for criminal injury compensation has to be able to prove the following:
- That they have been assaulted or injured in some way covered by the scheme and have been physically and/or mentally injured as a result.
- That they were in England, Scotland or Wales at the time when the injury was sustained
That they have been injured seriously enough to qualify for at least the minimum award available under the Scheme (£1,000).
- That they received documented medical attention for their injuries.
- That they reported the incident to the police within 48 hours.
- That they forwarded the application for compensation within 2 years from the date of the incident.
These rules are generally strictly implemented, however there are occasional circumstances where compensation can still be claimed even if all above requirements are not met – though it has to be said these are the exception, not the rule.
Criminal compensation can also be claimed for mental trauma, as long as that mental anguish is severe enough to qualify for at least the lowest UK CICA award amount (£1,000).
Mental anguish generally has to be substantiated and documented for it to be classed as being something that requires ‘compensation’: generally it is helpful if there is recognised trauma that can be quantified, like post-traumatic stress in rape cases and acts of terrorism. These victims are accepted to have both physical and mental injuries due to the extensive research that has been carried out in that area.
How do you make a claim for Criminal Injuries Compensation?
Upon receipt of a completed criminal injuries compensation claim form the CICA will acknowledge receipt and allocate a personal reference number and will thereafter make enquiries of the police, doctors, hospitals and any other relevant organisations. Due to different circumstances attached to each claim there is a wide variation in the time taken for the CICA to come to a decision on whether or not to grant an award and how much the compensation should be. Over 90 per cent of criminal injuries compensation claims are resolved within 12 months of receipt of the application, but cases where there is a criminal trial and cases involving future loss of earnings or future medical expenses may take longer. The average time for determination of a claim is 8 months.
Why use a specialist solicitor when making a claim for Criminal Injuries Compensation?
There is no compulsion to have legal representation to make an application for compensation, but it helps to speak to an experienced solicitor who has a grasp and understanding of the criminal injury compensation process. It may not be strictly necessary for a straightforward claim, but it is definitely advisable for more serious cases. However the CICA scheme does not pay for solicitors’ fees, so Harold Stock’s criminal injury solicitors will advise you on how best to proceed and whether it would be beneficial to use a solicitor.
If you have suffered a serious injury and will have to cope with financial losses in the longer term, you should usually appoint a specialist criminal injury solicitor to ensure you get the maximum level of compensation. The solicitor will be able to put a claim before the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and request damages on your behalf.
Harold Stock & Co has a wealth of experience of making such claims and of recovering criminal injuries compensation on behalf of those who have been injured. As with all types of injury claim, we are able to act under the terms of a no win no fee agreement.
If you would like to speak to a specialist solicitor about claiming criminal injuries compensation please contact us on 01457 835597or email firstname.lastname@example.org