What types of criminal injury can I claim compensation for?
In 1965 The Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (CICA) was created, so that innocent victims of crime could receive compensation for physical (scarring, broken bones, loss of vision) or psychological (depression, emotional, flashbacks, panic attacks and nightmares) injuries and financial losses (loss of earnings or special expenses).
Here are some examples of the types of crime causing injuries you are entitled to be compensated for by the CICA scheme.
You may have been in a shop where a robbery took place, and whilst you did not suffer physical harm, you suffered anxiety as a result of this crime and this has been verified by a clinical psychologist/psychiatrist. This type of injury is psychological.
You may have suffered historic sexual abuse many years ago and only felt safe talking about it now. This type of injury may have both physical and psychological injury.
You may have suffered loss of sight as a result of an assault and are unable to work in your previous job. This type of injury is likely to have physical, psychological and financial losses.
To make a successful claim for criminal injury compensation we need to show that you were the victim of, or witness to, a criminal act of which you yourself were totally innocent, which resulted in injury as described above. Often this is easy to show as the type and manner of injury you suffered clearly shows you were a victim and your injury was serious such as being robbed in the street and breaking your ankle as you were knocked to the ground. But sometimes it is not as clear cut, for example, if there was a fight which you did not physically start, but perhaps had been shouting at the person who then assaulted you. In the second example were you the innocent victim of a crime?
Compensation claims vary considerably in how long they take. Using our considerable experience acting for criminal injury victims, we have developed our own claims system for obtaining compensation as quickly as possible.
The Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme focuses on compensating the victim, not on punishing the offender. This means even when no-one has been charged or convicted you could still receive compensation.
Claimants are sometimes concerned that they will be claiming compensation directly from the person responsible for the crime. CICA payouts are direct from the scheme, meaning you do not have to claim directly, so it is different to a Personal Injury claim, such as where you slipped in a supermarket and your claim would be against the supermarket, or you were injured in a road traffic accident where the claim would be against the driver of the other vehicle.
Sometimes criminal injury claims are rejected. We understand this is very upsetting and we will do all we can to see if we can get the CICA when reviewing your claim to overturn their original decision. There are cases where the CICA provide evidence that was not available when making the claim, which show that a claim cannot be successful. Whichever situation you are faced with, we will always explain and help you to understand the CICA’s decision.
Occasionally it is appropriate to bring a Personal Injury claim rather than a Criminal Injury claim. This might be because you were not the totally innocent victim of the crime, because perhaps you shouted at the person who then turned violent. In this type of situation, the CICA scheme has stricter rules than Personal Injury compensation rules and as experienced Personal Injury advisers, we can advise you if a PI claim would be the better way forward.