How victims of violent crime can claim compensation

Thu 27th Feb 2020

Personal Injury lawyer Catherine Hyde encourages victims of violent crime to act fast in order to secure compensation.

If you have been injured or suffered psychological trauma as a result of a violent crime, such as an assault or sexual abuse, securing compensation is unlikely to be your priority. At such a difficult time, you will probably want to focus on your recovery and rebuilding your life as well as getting through the challenges of your case being investigated by the police and any court hearing.

However, time is of the essence if you want to apply for financial compensation to help you get your life back on track as there is a two year limitation period to submit a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

For those under the age of 18, or who were under 18 at the time of the incident, provisions can be made for the limitation period. If the incident was reported to the police when you were under 18, you have to make a claim to the CICA before you turn 20.

Securing compensation can be crucial to covering the significant costs that victims of these crimes often incur, including loss of earnings as a result of not being able to work and in some cases financing repairs to damaged property.

Pursuing a claim with the CICA

The CICA is the official government agency that is responsible for providing compensation to victims of violent crime. Anyone seeking compensation after being injured in this way will need to apply through the CICA.

There are specific requirements and limitations dictating when the CICA can award compensation. This includes anyone with an unspent criminal conviction being prevented from applying for compensation until after this conviction is spent.

Certain injuries are covered through the CICA’s tariff system, which has set figures for the amount that can be claimed. Applications for compensation for physical injuries will need to be backed up by medical reports. In the case of psychological trauma, victims can only make a claim if they have medical evidence from a psychiatrist to support this injury.

You must report the crime to the police before applying and will need a crime reference number in order to submit an application for compensation to the CICA.

Perhaps the most important thing to know if you are in this position, is that you only have two years following the date of the crime to apply for compensation through the CICA. In addition, the CICA often asks for supporting evidence including medical records, a letter from a GP and other relevant healthcare professionals to support a case.

How Coodes can support you to secure compensation

Anyone who has suffered physical or psychological injuries as a result of a violent crime can pursue a claim through the CICA. There is no obligation to instruct a solicitor to advise you. You can simply fill out the form yourself and wait for a response. However, we are advising increasing numbers of people who understand the benefits of having a professional personal injury lawyer to complete the claim on their behalf.

The process of applying for compensation can be very involved and having an understanding of the CICA’s tariff system is a great advantage. Without the experience of submitting these claims it can be very difficult to know what information to include and what to leave out. In addition, the CICA often demands supporting evidence, including medical records and a letter from GP and other relevant healthcare professionals to support a case. We know exactly what will be required and can therefore help clients ensure they gather all the necessary evidence.

Crucially, we are aware of the urgency of these claims. Having only two years, following an assault, to make a claim does add to the stress of the process. Having an experienced professional to manage the application will help ensure you get your application in on time.

In the last 12 months we have seen an increase in the number of clients coming to us for advice in claiming compensation through the CICA. While we do not know the exact reason for this growing demand, it is clear to us that many people appreciate that having an expert on your side to make their claim can make a real difference.

For more information or advice on this issue, contact Catherine Hyde in Coodes Solicitors’ Personal Injury team on 01326 214032 or Catherine.hyde@coodes.co.uk.

Thu 27th Feb 2020

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