The Government funded Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS) exists to compensate people who have suffered injury as the result of an unprovoked assault. This includes domestic violence and shaken baby syndrome. It is also possible for a ‘qualifying’ relative of a person who dies as a result of their injuries to claim bereavement and dependency payments. A qualifying relative is defined as
- the spouse or civil partner of the deceased, who was living with the deceased in the same household;
- the partner of the deceased (other than a spouse or civil partner), who was living with them in the same household and had done so for a continuous period of at least two years immediately before the date of the death;
- a person who would satisfy the above but who did not live with the deceased because of either person’s ill-health or infirmity;
- the spouse or civil partner, or a former spouse or civil partner, of the deceased who was financially dependent on them;
- a parent of the deceased, or;
- a child of the deceased.
The scheme is administered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) which is a government agency and is supposed to be designed so that the injured party can, if they wish, bring a claim without the need for legal representation.
Should I instruct a solicitor?
Figures published by the CICA show that of the 27,125 claims which were settled in 2020-2021, approximately 39% had legal representation, so the majority of people who bring a claim do so without legal representation.
However, there are time limits for beginning a claim, circumstances in which a claim may be rejected or reduced, evidence required to prove your injuries and losses, and an appeal system which could lead to an independent tribunal if you do not agree with the CICA’s valuation of your claim.
In this article we provide a basic guide as to the criteria for claiming, the time limit for bringing a claim as well as the evidence needed. We would recommend that before commencing a claim without legal representation, that you research in full the process to ensure that your claim is not under-valued. If you wish to speak to a solicitor before commencing a claim via the CICA, our member firms are available for a free, no obligation chat.
Who can claim for criminal injuries compensation?
Anyone who has suffered a qualifying personal injury as a result of a crime of violence can bring a claim via the CICA. However, there are circumstances where the award can be refused or reduced, including, but not limited to, if the victim:
- provoked the attack;
- failed to co-operate with the police or other authorities; or
- has a previous conviction themself.
If a claim is refused or reduced, it is possible to challenge this, but it can be tricky. However, it is possible to commence a claim without legal representation, and to then instruct a solicitor to continue your claim at any point throughout the process, so if you find your claim is reduced or refused, it may not be too late to seek legal advice.
Is there a time limit for commencing my CICA claim?
In general, the time limit for bringing a claim is two years from the date of injury and this is strictly enforced. There are a limited number of circumstances where this time limit can be extended, such as if the victim lacks mental capacity or is under the age of eighteen at the time of the assault.
What evidence do I need to present?
The CICA needs to be satisfied on the facts presented to them, that on the balance of probabilities, your injuries were caused by a crime of violence. It is not necessary for someone to have been caught or convicted of the assault on you.
Medical evidence needs to be provided to the CICA evidencing your injuries and the impact this has on your life along with the police report. It is also possible for claim for loss of earnings, future loss of earnings, rehabilitation had or needed and for any ongoing care needs. These calculations, and evidence to prove or predict these past and ongoing losses, needs to be provided in order for the CICA to consider them as part of your claim.
How are damages calculated?
Damages are decided on a tariff basis, full details of which can be found on the Government website. If you have suffered two or more injuries in the assault, you may be entitled to:
- 100% of the full tariff value of the most severe injury; and
- 30% of the tariff amount for the injury with an equal or second highest value; and
- 15% of the tariff amount for any additional injury with an equal or third highest value.
The scheme will not pay for more than three injuries, so it is therefore important to consider which are your most serious injuries and apply accordingly.
The maximum amount that can be awarded under the Scheme is £500,000. In the case of major trauma injuries, a significant percentage of the final award may relate to future care needs.
Can I instruct a solicitor part way through the process?
In short yes. We receive enquiries from many people who have started a claim without legal representation and then find that they struggle to understand the Scheme and the evidence required, or who have received an offer of an award, but feel this is too low and wish to appeal. It is also worthwhile to obtain legal advice to exclude the possibility of a civil claim which can be taken in certain circumstances.
Members of Major Trauma Group are experienced in dealing with claims of maximum severity to the CICA and will be happy to talk to you at any stage of your claim.
How do I fund legal advice?
No legal costs are awarded by the CICA so this type of claim is usually funded by way of a “no win no fee” contingency fee agreement where if your claim is successful, an agreed percentage will be retained in payment of legal fees. Before commencing any work on your behalf, your Major Trauma Group solicitor will discuss funding with you so that you can make an informed decision as to whether proceeding with, or without, legal representation is the right option for you.
How Major Trauma Group can help
Major Trauma Group members are specialist solicitors whom can guide you through making a claim under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority Scheme and any potential civil claim following an assault. It is vital that you have the right legal support by your side should you wish to pursue a personal injury claim for compensation after suffering a major trauma. It may also be possible to secure interim payments to alleviate financial hardship.
You and your family are also likely to need advice on a wide range of legal issues that may arise in the aftermath of a major trauma because of the impact it has on home and work life, family life, day to day activities and independence. You may need advice on employment issues, housing, welfare benefits, wills and probate or family issues. We can offer practical advice and help with financial matters and address concerns if you cannot work or have any financial concerns by way of obtaining interim payments. If you would like our help with making a personal injury claim or legal advice please get in touch.
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