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You may claim criminal injury compensation if you have suffered an injury, physical or psychological, because of an attack of criminal intent.
If a relative was fatally injured by a criminal attack you can also claim. Other types of claim include funeral expenses, income loss and special expenses.
Generally you have two years after the injury was suffered to lodge a compensation appeal with CICA (Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority), however this may be wavered in special circumstances such as an adult claiming for abuse they suffered as a child.
CICA’s jurisdiction covers the three countries of Great Britain, England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland has its own scheme. There are similar compensation bodies in all European Union states and around the world in many others including the US, Australia and Canada. For a full list see the criminal injury compensation abroad section.
The Police - It is necessary in almost all cases of criminal injury compensation to have informed the police of the offence that caused the incident. The first thing that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) will do upon receiving your application is to contact the police to verify that you were injured by a criminal act.
CICA – or the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is the body that cover most criminal compensation claims in Great Britain. To apply for compensation go to their website where you can fill out a form online, print one out, or request one by phoning: 0800 358 3601
Compensation awards – your injuries must be serious enough to warrant over £1,000 in compensation, and the maximum award is £250,000; this includes claims for multiple injuries. However, income loss and special expenses can boost the award to £500,000. Most injuries carry a fixed bracket from within which CICA will take the figure that represents the amount of money you will receive in compensation.
Cost – CICA do not pay legal fees should you require their accumulation; the same is true for most other countries. A 'contingency fee arrangement' may be made with a lawyer, however, which sees them taking a percentage of the compensation if successful.
If you are the victim of a criminal injury then there are certain steps that you should take before you even consider a claim for compensation:
To aid the prosecution of the criminal and your case for compensation there are several advisable things for you to do.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a non-departmental public body, and is part of the Ministry of Justice. It is the institution that deals with criminal injury claims, and to claim compensation for a criminal injury you generally have to go through this body.
To claim compensation for a criminal injury you generally have to go through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). You can begin the process in one of three ways; online at their website, via post (you can either get a form printed from their website or sent to you by post by phoning 0800 358 3601), or with the help of Victim Support.
There are certain criteria that need to be fulfilled if you are going to make a compensation claim:
There are 4 types of compensation that you can claim for:
Note - The following 2 can only be applied for if you also get the criminal injury compensation awarded.
Application forms are available in many languages including: Arabic, Punjabi, Bengali, Somali, Chinese, Turkish, Gujarati, Urdu, Greek, Vietnamese, Hindi and Welsh.
There are two other ways than through CICA for claiming compensation for a criminal injury. These are:
These two methods are generally not used; the success of them both depends on the inability of the offender to pay compensation out of his own pocket.
It is not necessary to employ a lawyer when claiming compensation for a criminal injury. The way the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (CICA) operates makes it easy to apply with no qualified legal assistance. By simply using the guidance detailed on this website, following their instructions and filling in the form you can be on your way to receiving a compensation award. CICA also include on their website a pdf file containing an exhaustive detailing of every aspect of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, application forms in many different languages and help if you are a victim of a high-profile large scale criminal offence such as the July 7th 2005 Bombings in London, or the Cumbria Shootings of 2010.
If, however, you are rejected or want to contest your award at a tribunal it is recommended that you use the help of a lawyer, as strong advocacy skills will certainly be of benefit at this stage. The most effective kind of lawyer for criminal injury claims is a personal injury lawyer; there is no specially accredited panel for criminal compensation lawyers (the Law Society Personal Injury Panel is the closest). Criminal lawyers are specialists in criminal trials and so are not the best option for a compensation claim.
The jurisdiction of the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (CICA) extends only as far as the borders of Great Britain, so if you were the victim of a criminal injury outside of England, Scotland or Wales (Northern Ireland has its own compensation system) and wish to claim, you must do it by going down different channels. The same general steps should be taken if you suffer an injury in any foreign country — you should report the incident to the police and medical authorities as failure to do so can cause difficulties when trying to claim compensation.
European law states that all EU member states must have a criminal compensation scheme in place, which will be similar to CICA. CICA can help you with the process of claiming in an EU country — they have a specialist department called the EU Compensation Assistance Team (EUCAT) who should be contacted if you feel that you need any help when claiming for an injury sustained in an EU country.
Several non-European Union states have authorities through whom it is possible to claim compensation from for criminal injury, as of 2010 the US Office for Victims of Crimes lists these as: Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Colombia, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States.
Each kind of physical or psychological injury you can suffer has a set maximum fee that you can receive.
The severity of your injury, the effect it has had upon you and the discretion of the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (CICA) in relation to those things will determine how close to the maximum your compensation will be.
The minimum amount of compensation that CICA can award is £1,000. This can be arrived at by multiplying the compensation of several small injuries or if a single injury overreaches that threshold.
The maximum amount of compensation awarded for damages is £250,000.
The maximum amount of compensation you can receive for lost income is £250,000. The total may not exceed £500,000.
If the compensation is for a person under 18 years of age then the money will be deposited in a savings account and only accessible upon their reaching the age of 18.
If you have sustained multiple injuries then CICA can only consider awarding compensation for the three most damaging only. The total compensation you will receive is not based on a sum of what the three injuries are worth individually. Instead CICA will add together the full amount of the worst injury, 30% of the second worst injury, and 15% of the third worst injury and arrive at a total this way.
To be able to claim compensation when someone is killed as a result of a criminal act you must be related to the deceased in one of these ways: wife, husband or partner; former wife, husband or partner; biological parent; child; or an unmarried partner who has been living with the deceased for at least 2 years before.
The total amount you can be awarded is £11,000. If there are two or more claimants then this fee is £5,500 each.
Further expenses that can be claimed are funeral costs, expenses if you were financially dependent on the deceased, and loss of parental financial help. If you are under 18 and your parent is deceased as a result of a criminal injury you can also claim financial help, which currently stands at £2000 per year.
If you have criminal convictions previous or subsequent to the incident for which you are attempting to claim compensation then this could impact upon the amount you are awarded. A criminal conviction that carried a sentence of over 30 weeks in jail could result in your compensation claim being rejected. There are no rules regarding this, however, and it is down to the discretion of CICA.
It is not an absolute necessity for the person who injured you to be actually convicted of the crime in which you were harmed in order for you to claim compensation.
The following are the scenarios that are likely to arise in which there is no conviction but you can still claim compensation:
It is entirely possible for a criminal compensation claim to succeed even if a suspect for the crime is found not guilty at trial. One of the main reasons for this is because the balances on which the guilty/not guilty and compensation/no compensation outcome pivot are weighted differently.
For a criminal conviction the decision as to whether guilt is ascribed or not rests on the phrase ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. This means that if there is any doubt in the minds of the jurists that the accused is not guilty then that is the verdict that they should return. It is guided by a conviction which holds personal liberty in pre-eminence; that, in an imperfect world, it is preferable that some who are guilty should go free, rather than one who is innocent being shackled.
For CICA to award criminal compensation, the claimant need only show that its own favour in the ‘balance of possibilities’ is the greater. This means that if it is more probable than not that the accused injured the claimant then compensation can be awarded. A compensation claim being paid out incorrectly is obviously a far less weighty scenario than an innocent person being punished for a crime they did not commit - in fact, the injustice here would be a person who was injured by a criminal being refused compensation - so the requirements for proof are less stringent here.
It is obviously much easier to satiate the 'balance of possibilities' than to establish something 'beyond reasonable doubt' — this is why a criminal compensation claim may still succeed through the accused was found to be innocent.
Most criminal injury compensation claims are dealt with by the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (CICA). Once you have sent your application form to them this is the process that ensues.
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.
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.
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:
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.
The Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (CICA) does not pay legal costs as part of the compensation. It may be that you don't need professional legal help when claiming criminal injury compensation; if so then you do not need to worry yourself with this page.
However, even if you do not use a solicitor for your initial claim, you may find your claim rejected or the award not as much as you hoped. If this happens after an appeal to CICA on their first decision then the only option left open to you is an independent tribunal, and whilst it is still not necessary to seek legal aid, most people would benefit immeasurably from it.
Despite the popular perception of lawyers as an expensive commodity there are ways to get free professional legal help and advice.
Law clinics – some legal firms provide a service that is termed a 'law clinic', when they set aside a day or evening where members of the public can come in and receive legal advice for no fee. It is worth checking with your local legal firms to see if they operate such a scheme, as you can get valuable advice that is specific to your individual case. Your time with a solicitor may be limited though, and you should also check to see if a personal injury specialist will be present as not all the lawyers will take part each time a law clinic is opened.
Legal protection cover – legal protection cover is an aspect that is included in some home insurance packages. It can cover you for legal fees in the case of a personal or criminal injury claim. It is worth checking with your insurance provider if you have this and if it can be used to fund professional legal help in a claim for criminal injury compensation.
If you find it necessary to get legal advice that you cannot obtain for free, or you need a lawyer to represent you at a tribunal, then these are the options you have:
If you expect a small award for your compensation then the best option is to try and get a contingency fee arrangement. If you expect your compensation to be a large sum you may benefit from the increased flexibility of a fixed fee or private fee arrangement.