Criminal Injury Compensation
Criminal injury refers to an injury, whether physical or mental, that a person suffers as a result of some type of criminal activity or crime. For example, you may be stabbed, beaten up or suffer a fall as a result of a robbery or mugging.
If you, or a loved one, have suffered some type of criminal injury, through no fault of your own, you may be eligible for claiming criminal injury compensation off the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, CICA. The CICA was set up to help victims of crime and families of victims claim compensation to help rebuild their lives. If you can prove that you were injured through criminal activity undertaken by someone else then you will have a good chance of claiming a fair amount of compensation because the CICA has no interest in trying to avoid paying out compensation.
Claim amounts from the CICA can vary and are dependant on your circumstances and injury, and the impact it has had on your life. There are twenty-five different levels of payout and the CICA will consider compensation claims for death, injury and severe mental anguish caused by crime.
Claiming Criminal Injury Compensation
To claim criminal injury successfully through the CICA, you will need to fill in the appropriate application form - a personal injury CICA form if you have suffered an injury or the fatal injury CICA form if a loved one died as a result of crime. You must also meet the following requirements:-
If you yourself are the victim:-
- You must have been the "innocent victim of a crime of violence."
- The crime must have taken place within the last two years unless the claim is for abuse.
- You suffered a physical or psychological injury as the result of a violent crime.
If you are the relative:-
- You must be a close relative of someone who died as a result of a violent crime - parent, child, partner or spouse.
- The death took place within the last two years.
If you have a close relationship with the victim of a violent crime:-
- You were either present at the crime or involved immediately in the aftermath of the crime.
- Your involvement led to you suffering a psychological injury.
- The crime happened within the last two years.
There are also other requirements for claiming criminal injury compensation from the CICA for your personal injury:-
- The crime must have taken place in England, Scotland or Wales.
- The crime and your injury must be covered by the CICA compensation scheme - Damage to possessions is not covered, only actual injury.
- You must be either the victim of the crime or a relative of someone who died from a criminal act.
- The injury was serious enough to need a minimum recovery time of 6 weeks and to require two follow up doctor appointments.
- The injury, or injuries, you suffered must be serious enough to warrant a compensation amount of at least £1,000.
- You have not already received or applied for personal injury compensation outside of the CICA scheme.
- You made a police report about the crime as soon as you were physically able to.
These requirements do not usually apply to the parents or guardians of children who have been injured by a crime, but you should check on www.cica.gov.uk, the CICA website.
If you meet all of these requirements, fill in the appropriate form and can provide evidence to back your claim, then your compensation claim should be successful. If you were somehow involved in the crime or you provoked an attack in some way, the CICA may not pay you compensation - you need to be an innocent victim of the crime.
If the CICA refuses to pay you compensation, you may be able to ask for a review or appeal to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel, an independent body. If your previously minor medical condition deteriorates or worsens, you may be able to get the CICA to reopen your case in the hope of obtaining an higher compensation amount.
Generally, claims to the CICA can be handled by yourself without obtaining legal advice, but if your case is complicated or you are worried about it then you can get legal advice from a criminal injury solicitor who can help you with your application and claim. Make sure that you ask the injury solicitor what their fees will be because the CICA will not pay them for you.