When it might be ‘Criminal’ not to claim
15 June 2016 by Lauren Hancock
Claiming for an accident at work, in a public place or on the road is something we often hear of in advertisements and on the news but what if you are injured as a result of a criminal act? Many who sustain harm as a result of crime are unaware that they too can make a claim though the government run Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
Given that many perpetrators of crime do not have the means to make any payment in damages, it is not difficult to see why a victim may never consider making a claim for compensation. In circumstances where the perpetrator has the resources to respond to a claim and pay damages upon settlement, there is no need for the involvement of CICA. When, however, this is not the case, the purpose of CICA is to compensate innocent victims of ‘crimes of violence’ for their injuries.
A ‘crime of violence’ is defined by the 2012 Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme as a crime which involves either, a physical attack, an act or omission of a violent nature which causes physical injury, a threat against a person causing fear of immediate violence, sexual assault or arson.
Usually an application must be made through the scheme within 2 years of the date of the incident and the incident must have been reported to the police; Surprisingly it is not necessary for the assailant to have been convicted or even arrested in order to submit a claim.
In certain circumstances the authority may withhold or reduce an award, for example where a victim has failed to cooperate in bringing the assailant to justice, failed to assist the CICA claims officer with the application or where an applicant has unspent convictions. An award may also be refused where it is considered that the assailant may benefit from it, albeit indirectly.
Once an application is made to the CICA a claims officer is assigned to investigate the claim which can take many months. When the investigation is complete, if the claim is eligible, CICA will value the applicants injuries, either physical or psychological, based upon their own injury specific tariff; for example a fractured forearm with ‘substantial recovery’ is valued at £1,500.00 whereas a fractured forearm with ‘continuing significant disability’ is valued at £3,500.00.
Where an applicant has sustained multiple injuries as a result of a violent crime, the full tariff amount will be paid for the injury which gives rise the highest payment, 30% for the injury with the second highest payment and 15% for the injury with the third highest payment. In addition to this sum, in some circumstances an applicant may also be eligible for a loss of earnings and/or special expenses payment. The maximum payable under the scheme is £500,000.00.
Although applications through the scheme can often involve a lengthy process the scheme provides access to compensation where it would not otherwise be available.
If you have been injured as a result of a criminal injury within the last 2 years and would like further advice on making a Criminal Injuries Compensation claim, we at Fisher Jones Greenwood are happy to help. Please contact Christopher Yemm on 01206 835251 or at [email protected].
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