About criminal injury compensation claims
If you have experienced a violent crime or been the victim of a criminal injury here in the UK, you may be entitled to compensation. Many people do not realise that if you have suffered physically or psychologically as the result of a criminal act, through no fault of your own, you may be eligible for compensation even if the criminal wasn’t caught or charged.
Criminal acts could include muggings; sexual abuse; domestic violence; assault in a bar or a club; or even bearing witness to an armed robbery. Injuries might include the physical, such as cuts, bruises and any broken bones, as well as psychological issues, such as anxiety and depression, that can have a debilitating effect on victims of crime for years after the incident occurred.
Eligibility for criminal injury compensation
The law states that you could be a candidate for criminal injury compensation if:
- You have been the victim of a violent crime.
- You did not contribute to the incident in any way.
- You were injured when taking reasonable measures to prevent a crime.
- You have experienced psychological distress from witnessing a violent crime.
- You have lost a relative to violent crime (claimants could include children; spouses; partners that live together; natural or adoptive parents; and guardians).
How to make a criminal injury compensation claim
There are three possible methods of making a criminal compensation claim here in the UK. Firstly, you could make a claim for compensation directly against the individual responsible for your injury. Generally, this course of action is not recommended because it is too difficult to follow through. You could well end up winning your case yet not receive the expected compensation as the perpetrator may not have the funds to pay out.
Another way of claiming for criminal compensation is to make a personal injury claim against your employer, if your injury was sustained at work. In this case, you would need to be able to demonstrate that your employer neglected to take reasonable steps which could have protected you from the injury you have sustained.
However, the most common method of claiming for compensation after a criminal injury is to go through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
About the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
Established in 1964, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is a government-funded organisation that handles claims for compensation from victims of criminal injury occurring in England, Scotland and Wales. They deal with around 40,000 applications and pay out up to £200 million every year to help victims move on with their lives.
Claims that are dealt with by the CICA will be subject to specific criteria including:
- Claims must be made within two years of the criminal incident which caused injury or two years from the date of the applicants 18th birthday. There are some exceptions to this rule where there are extenuating circumstances meaning an applicant was not able to claim within the set timescale. A typical personal injury claim involves a deadline of three years.
- Only personal injuries valued at more than £1,000 will be considered – the CICA handles claims for serious injuries only.
- The claimant’s conduct before, during and after the incident, any existing criminal record and all behaviour with regards to co-operating with the police will be taken into consideration.
- The criminal injury sustained must have been reported to the police – for most cases this needs to be done within 48 hours although there are some exceptions to this rule.
- The claimant must be a resident of the UK, a close relative of a British Citizen, a member of the EEA, a member of the armed forces or an accompanying close relative of a member of the armed forces.
- The scheme cannot cover the first 28 weeks of lost earnings.
- The claimant must either work with the CICA directly in order to keep the full compensation or work with a personal injury solicitor and pay them a fee as under this scheme, no legal costs are payable.
- In some cases, it might be possible to make a claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority whilst additionally claiming against the perpetrator or your employer. If this is applicable to your situation, it is worth bearing in mind that any compensation paid by your employer would be deducted from any amount awarded by the CICA.
The application requirements
In order to review your case, the CICA will require evidence to back up your claim. This may include:
- Medical report to demonstrate extent of injuries.
- Evidence showing loss of earnings or future loss of earnings.
- Confirmation that report was filed with the police.
- Confirmation that your conduct did not contribute to the incident.
- The compensation you could expect
If the CICA decide you were injured due to a criminal act through no fault of your own, you should expect to receive compensation provided your injuries are sufficient enough to qualify. There is a tariff of injuries available on the CICA website which acts as a guide to compensation available.
The amount of compensation varies in response to the severity of the injury that has been experienced. Compensation starts at £1000 all the way up to £250,000 and the scheme allows a pay-out for up to three injuries except in special circumstances. Where multiple injuries have been suffered the CICA pays 100% of the tariff injury for the most serious injury,30% of the tariff award for the second injury and 15% of the tariff award for the third injury.
It is likely compensation offered will also cover:
- Loss of earnings.
- Dependency outgoings.
- Funeral costs.
- Additional payments in fatal cases.
- Medical expenses.
Each case is judged on an independent basis and your personal injury solicitor may not be able to tell you the exact amount you will receive but will be able to give you an estimation based on your specific case and the CICA tariff system. Although any amount you receive cannot make up for the trauma of criminal injury, it is society’s way of acknowledging your situation.
If the injury sustained as a result of a violent crime is not considered serious enough to be included in the CICA tariff of injuries, it is worth inquiring about the new Government Hardship Fund. This can offer some financial assistance to people on a low income that are temporarily unable to earn money due to their experience.
If you have been a victim of violent crime, the Victim Support Line 0808 1689 111 can provide advice and support to help you deal with your experience.