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Types of Criminal Injury Claim

Criminal injury classification

A criminal injury compensation claim is different to an accident injury compensation claim; the general outline of the differences is quite simple, however there are also certain variations that are slightly more complex and will be detailed below.

A criminal injury is a crime of violence, although there need not be any physical violence committed upon the victim's body for a criminal injury compensation claim to be brought forward. Psychological damage arising from a crime of violence, whether physical injury was caused or not, can also be the subject of compensation. To become a crime of violence the actions that caused the injury need to be of a deliberate nature. If this is the case then they become a matter for the police — unlike an accident — and are known as an 'incident'. The main fault line between criminal and accident claims is the presence or absence of intent — it will be present in a criminal claim and absent in an accident claim.

Though your injury may have been accidental, there are 3 sets of circumstances that could still enable your compensation claim to be classified as a criminal injury claim. These are as follows.

  1. An accidental injury occurring when you unintentionally became involved in an attempt to prevent a criminal act. For example, you are in the immediate proximity as the police try to arrest a criminal and you accidentally come to injury.
  2. An accidental injury occurring as you try to assist people escaping or putting out the fire of a building that has been set ablaze through arson. Arson is a criminal offence and, though there was no intention to cause you harm, if it wasn't for the criminal act your humanitarian instinct would never have been aroused and you would not have been injured.
  3. An accidental injury occurring as you take an ‘exceptional risk’ to your own safety when trying to prevent a criminal act.

To illustrate the above, take this example. You are in a small independent retailer of hardware goods. Someone whom you believe to be an innocent fellow shopper takes an electric drill from a stand, apparently to peruse its extraneous features detailed on the rear of the packaging, when suddenly he beelines for the door and makes rapid exit into the street, drill tucked under one arm but no receipt clutched in the opposite fist. The elderly proprietor bellows deeply-accented admonition at the thief, your pity for the old gentleman is stirred and you trace the felon's route to the door in pursuit. As you pass under the threshold your trailing right foot clips the door sill and you plummet, hitting the hard concrete pavement and suffering physical injury, as well as ignominy. If this, or anything remotely similar, happens to you then you may also be able to claim criminal injury compensation.

Criminal injury caused by animals  

If you are attacked by an animal that is the responsibility of someone then there is the possibility that you can make a criminal injury compensation claim. The most common of these injuries are caused by dogs. The situation likely to arise where you can claim compensation when attacked by an animal are:

  • If the owner, or person in charge, of the animal sets it on you.
  • If the owner was aware that the animal was dangerous, perhaps it had previously attacked them or someone else, and they hadn’t taken precautions to subdue the threat it posed. For example, no muzzle on a dog with a history of biting people.

Criminal injury caused by a vehicle

Though road traffic accidents are frequently claimed on due to accidental injuries, if a vehicle is driven in a way that uses it as a weapon in order to injure you then you can claim compensation as a criminal injury has been caused.

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