Posted by Laura Jackson, Chartered Legal Executive
Innocent and been injured in a violent crime?
Dealing with an injury is stressful under any circumstances, and particularly so when you’ve been injured in a violent crime. There is help out there: the Government funds the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), a scheme that allows blameless victims who have been physically or mentally injured in a violent crime to get a financial award. But is it wise to approach the CICA without legal advice? Laura Jackson, Legal Executive in our Personal Injury team, discusses.
The most recent CICA Scheme is dated 2012. This means that for all applications made to the CICA on or after 27 November 2012, the rules set out in this Scheme will apply. In accordance with this scheme, the CICA determine a victim’s eligibility by following a set of criteria, with minimum conditions which must be met before an innocent victim of crime can apply for compensation.
You may be eligible for compensation if:
- you are a British Citizen or meet one of the other residency requirements and the incident occurred in England, Wales or Scotland
- you apply for compensation within two years of the crime occurring
- the incident was reported to the police as soon as reasonably possible
- you fully cooperate with the police and Criminal Justice System
- your injuries meet the minimum award of £1,000.
People who have suffered very serious injuries that have left them with no, or very limited capacity to work may be entitled to claim for loss of earnings. The scheme can also make additional awards for specific practical, medical and care costs.
How does the CICA work?
The CICA manage up to 40,000 applications for compensation each year, paying out up to £200 million to victims of violent crime. A large proportion of claimants do not receive the compensation they could, simply because they do not know the CICA process or have not sought professional legal advice from lawyers who are experienced in handling CICA claims.
When a claim is made to the CICA, the CICA gather all the information they require about a case and then make a decision about how much to offer the claimant. At this stage, it is easy for claimants to take the “easy way out” and simply accept the CICA’s initial decision; maybe because the idea of taking the steps to have the decision reviewed or appealed against is rather daunting or they may not know that they are entitled to request that the decision be challenged.
Do you need legal advice when dealing with the CICA?
Getting legal advice before or during a claim made with the CICA could increase the amount you are awarded by thousands of pounds. For example, our Personal Injury team was instructed by an individual who suffered serious injuries, including a serious head injury, in an unprovoked attack. He brought a claim with the CICA and was initially offered less than £100,000. He came to Royds Withy King wanting advice as to whether this was a reasonable award because, having no experience of the CICA or indeed personal injury claims, he simply did not know. We advised him and guided him through the appeals process and our client went on to receive the maximum amount possible, £500,000.
In many cases, there are prospects of getting a second, better offer from the CICA if a review or appeal is made, with the right advice and right evidence. You do not have to accept the first offer made to you by the CICA; it is often based on incomplete or inaccurate evidence. If you are thinking of making an application to the CICA or have already made an application, it may be worth your while seeking legal advice to make sure you are not under-compensated.
For more information or advice on dealing with the CICA contact our Personal Injury team
0800 923 2068 Email us