In most personal injury claims, both sides will argue over how much a specific injury is “worth”, and will usually reach some form of compromise agreement depending upon the degree of fault that was involved.
However, for injuries sustained as a result of an attack the rules are different. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, a government-appointed, publicly-funded organisation, makes the final decision about what compensation should be paid.
The rules set out by the Criminal Injuries Board are strict and prescriptive. Injuries must be of a certain severity to qualify for compensating, and need to fall within the 25 levels of criminal compensation for which the Authority will pay out from £1,000 to £250,000. The maximum amount you can receive in criminal injury compensation after all losses and expenses have been considered is £500,000.
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 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.
The rules are generally strictly implemented, though there are circumstances where compensation can still be claimed even if all above requirements are not met. 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 of £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, such as occurs with rape 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.
Making 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% 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.
Using a specialist solicitor to make a claim for Criminal Injuries Compensation.
There is no compulsion to have legal representation to make an application for compensation, though it is helpful to speak to an experienced solicitor who fully understands the criminal injury compensation process. For a straightforward claim it is often unnecessary, however for more serious cases, legal representation is advisable. As the CICA scheme does not pay for solicitors’ fees, Harold Stock & Co solicitors can advise you on how best to proceed and whether you should 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 like Harold Stock & Co to ensure you get the maximum level of compensation. We are able to put a claim before the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and request damages on your behalf. We have 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 Harold Stock & Co on 01457 835597 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.