Personal Injury Solicitors
Criminal Injuries Compensation
If you have been the victim of a violent crime in the UK, you may be entitled to criminal injuries compensation through the government-funded scheme ‘The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme’. The scheme is run by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) and is designed to compensate blameless victims of violent crime in England, Scotland or Wales.
The CICA is an executive agency, sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, and currently handles up to 40,000 applications for compensation each year, paying out up to £200 million to victims of violent crime. Their aim is to provide a compassionate, efficient, and fair service to blameless victims of violent crime.
The government’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme sets the criteria and amounts for compensation for those physically or mentally injured due to a violent crime. It is important to be aware that you can submit a claim for criminal injuries compensation yourself via the government’s online portal without any legal representation. Some people choose to do this as unfortunately, the scheme does not pay the cost of your legal representation.
If, however, you choose to instruct a Solicitor to pursue the claim on your behalf, your chosen representative should make you aware of the options available to you to fund your case. One option may be for their legal fees to be paid from the compensation awarded to you at the end of the claim. Instructing an experienced solicitor is sometimes considered the better option if your claim is complicated and your injuries are severe.
We recommend that you check the costs of any representation before you proceed with your claim.
At Smith Jones Solicitors, we cap the amount of compensation you could pay in legal fees to ensure you retain the majority of the compensation awarded to you. If you would like to know more about our charges for making a criminal injuries compensation claim and the funding options available to you, you can call our friendly team on freephone 0800 195 95 90 and they can advise you about your options for pursuing a claim.
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FAQ About Criminal Injury Claims:
HOW YOUR CRIMINAL INJURY CLAIM WILL BE DEALT WITH
Criminal injury claims can be for physical or psychological injuries, and for injuries sustained both accidentally and deliberately. If you are eligible for compensation, the damages awarded for your claim are dependent on the circumstances of the crime committed, and the injuries sustained.
To qualify for compensation there are certain obligations which you must adhere to. For instance, the scheme requires that the incident which caused your injury must be reported to the police and that you must fully cooperate with the police and criminal justice system during their investigation and throughout the prosecution.
Damages may be disallowed or reduced if your involvement in the incident contributed to your injury and the CICA will consider any convictions you have at the time of applying and any other convictions received before the claim is settled.
In addition, your claim may be refused or a reduced sum may be awarded if you have a criminal record even if you were blameless in the incident that caused your injury.
The CICA will take into account the following factors when making a decision about your claim:
- The evidence you gave to the police
- Criminal records
- Medical evidence (if required)
Some of the information surrounding criminal injuries compensation may sound complicated. If you choose to instruct a solicitor to represent you, our experienced team will be here to guide you through the process and to explain what information will be needed from you to support your claim.
The CICA state that the responsibility for making a case for compensation lies with you. This means that you will need to provide us with the evidence necessary to decide your case.
The CICA list the following evidence that may be required to process your claim:
- proof that you meet the residency requirements;
- medical evidence that shows you suffered an injury that can be compensated under the Scheme;
- evidence to support a claim for lost earnings or future loss of earnings. This evidence may include pay slips or your P60. If you were self-employed, you may be asked to show copies of your tax return to show that you were in regular, paid work.
The following evidence may be collated before you are asked to obtain a medical report:
- confirmation from the police that the incident in which you were injured was reported to the police;
- confirmation from the police and/or witnesses that your behaviour did not contribute to the incident in which your injuries were received; and
- confirmation from the police that you co-operated with them.
PAYMENT TYPES & PAYMENTS
If your criminal injury is included in the scheme’s tariff of injuries, you may be eligible for a payment.
The CICA list the following claims that will be considered:
- mental or physical injury following a crime of violence;
- sexual or physical abuse;
- loss of earnings – where you have no or limited capacity to work as the direct result of a criminal injury (you cannot get loss of earnings for the first 28 weeks of loss);
- special expenses payments – these cover certain costs you may have incurred as a direct result of an incident. You can only ask the CICA to consider special expenses if your injuries mean you have been unable to work or have been incapacitated to a similar extent for more than 28 weeks;
- a fatality caused by a crime of violence including bereavement payments, payments for loss of parental services and financial dependency; and funeral payments.
If you had a pre-existing injury which has been exacerbated by a criminal injury, you may be entitled to a payment; though this will only cover the extent to which the injury was made worse and not the full injury. CICA guidance also states that where this is valued at less than £1,000, no payment will be made.
When the CICA have made a decision about your claim, they will write either to you or to the Solicitor representing you to inform you of their decision. If an offer of payment is made, there is a strict timeframe in which you must respond.
If you are awarded compensation, the CICA will generally offer a single lump sum payment to be paid directly into your/your Solicitor’s bank account, though the CICA may decide that your payment should be paid into a trust or administered as an annuity in some circumstances.
HOW LONG DO YOU HAVE TO CLAIM FOR CRIMINAL INJURY COMPENSATION?
It is advisable that you pursue a claim of any type as soon as you are able to do so. In the case of criminal injuries claims, if you were an adult at the time you suffered injury, you should pursue your claim no later than two years after the incident occurred however, there are certain exceptional circumstances in which this may be extended.
The time limit for any applicants that were under the age of 18 when the incident occurred is slightly different. If the incident was reported to police before the victim turned 18, and a parent or guardian has not already made a claim on their behalf it is still possible to make a claim up until their 20th birthday. If the incident took place before the victim turned 18 but it was not reported to police, an application for compensation can be made within two years of the police report being made.
BEREAVEMENT AS A RESULT OF A VIOLENT CRIME
In the most harrowing of cases, a family member may be pursuing a claim for compensation following the loss of a loved one. The following section covers the types of compensation which may be available to the family of somebody who has died as a result of a violent crime.
If you are a close relative of a person who dies as a result of their injuries, you may be able to apply for a bereavement or dependency payment. Our team understand that this is an extremely difficult time for you and your family and will offer sympathetic and professional advice to assist you wherever possible.
The scheme sets out certain guidelines in relation to who is eligible to receive compensation (below).
A qualifying relative is a person who at the time of the deceased’s death was:
(a) the spouse or civil partner of the deceased, who was living with the deceased in the same household;
(b) the partner of the deceased (other than a spouse or civil partner), who was living with them in the same household and had done so for a continuous period of at least two years immediately before the date of the death;
(c) a person who would satisfy sub-paragraph (a) or (b) but who did not live with the deceased because of either person’s ill-health or infirmity;
(d) the spouse or civil partner, or a former spouse or civil partner, of the deceased who was financially dependent on the deceased;
(e) a parent of the deceased; or
(f) a child of the deceased.
Further information regarding exemptions from bereavement payments can be found here.
Children of someone who died
A child of the deceased may make a claim if they fit the qualifying relative criteria, were under the age of 18 at the time of the death and were dependent on the deceased for parental services.
The compensation is in recognition of some of the losses the child has/will face as a result of losing a payment.
Dependent on someone who died
A dependency payment may be available to you if you were a qualifying relative who was financially or physically dependent on the deceased at the time of their death.
Applicants will be required to provide evidence to support this claim.
Where a person has died as a result of a criminal injury, the CICA may allow a payment to cover some, but not all, of the funeral expenses. It is limited to a maximum payment and depends on the costs to be covered.
The CICA list the following funeral expenses which may be included:
- provision of a funeral;
- newspaper announcements;
- funeral breakfasts / non-alcoholic refreshments;
- transporting the deceased back to their country of origin.
The list above is not exhaustive. Other costs may be considered if receipts or other satisfactory evidence supports them and does not exceed the maximum amount permitted under the scheme.
If you require legal representation after being a victim of a violent crime or would like some advice in relation to a bereavement you can call us on freephone 0800 195 95 90 for free, confidential advice from our friendly and professional team.
If you are ready to make a claim for criminal injuries compensation, you can submit your enquiry online using our contact form and a member of our team will call you back.