Criminal Injuries Compensation ClaimsWhereas those suffering from personal injuries resulting from accidents caused by negligence claim through the civil courts, anyone injured due to a violent crime can claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The other difference is that criminal injury payments are in accordance with a fixed tariff that is determined by the extent of the injuries while personal injury claims are independently assessed.
In order to claim successfully, you must have an injury that is covered by the scheme and which results from a violent crime. The crime must have taken place in England, Scotland or Wales and must have been reported to the police, although it is not necessary for the assailant to have been convicted or even caught. You must have documented evidence of receiving medical attention and must submit an application for compensation within two years of the occurrence of the crime, although this period can be extended in certain circumstances.
Applications are submitted on a CICA claim form. In simple cases, you may be able to complete and submit this personally although using a claim service to help you may increase the chances of success. This work may be undertaken on a 'no win, no fee' basis but 100% of the compensation is rarely paid when a firm is involved. Instead, the firm will generally require a commission of 10-30% of the final compensation although they may improve the level of compensation gained.
Once an application is submitted, you will receive an acknowledgement and a personal reference number. A case worker will be assigned to the claim and will make enquiries to the police, hospital and other organisations with knowledge of the assault. These case workers tend to be experienced in processing claims and will generally reject those that are fraudulent or frivolous.
If your application is unsuccessful or you are not satisfied with the compensation you are offered, you have 90 days to request a review. This is conducted by a senior CICA officer, who goes through the papers before coming to a decision. If you are still not happy, you have a further 90 days to request an oral hearing in front of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel, which is independent of CICA. Oral evidence is given to the appeals panel at an informal hearing that can last up to several hours. All aspects are looked at and the decision of the panel is final. The only options after that are to accept the decision or ask for a judicial review, although this is a serious step to take.
Here are some organisations relating to criminal injury claims:
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