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How Do I Make a Successful Criminal Injuries Compensation Claim? – CICA Online Claims Help Guide

How Do I Make a Successful Criminal Injuries Compensation Claim? – CICA Online Claims Help Guide

October 13, 2019 1:09 am2 comments

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If you were the victim of a violent crime and would like more information on whether your case would entitle you to make a claim through the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority, there are rules that apply to the scheme which must be respected. As such, seeking legal advice from a criminal injury lawyer prior to filing a claim to the CICA would be advisable.

To find out more about when to claim compensation through the CICA for criminal injury and whether your case would be accepted by the authority, please read on.

What is the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme?

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority allows blameless victims of violent crime the opportunity of seeking compensation through a government-funded scheme. It is worth noting that in certain cases, an innocent victim of a crime of violence may also claim other losses when making a claim through the CICA scheme. The authority has two levels of compensation which are based on scheduled tariffs for specific types of injury a blameless victim sustains. There are two schemes that run concurrently which are as follows:

  • One CICA scheme compensates blameless victims of crimes of violence which occurred prior to 2012
  • The other scheme covers innocent victims of violent crimes that occurred after 2008

Compensation awarded through the CICA scheme also covers the following:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Rape
  • Child abuse

Do I Need to Wait For a Court Ruling Before Claiming Through the CICA?

As a victim of a violent crime, you do not have to wait for the outcome of a court hearing to file a claim for compensation through the CICA scheme. There are several reasons for this which are as follows:

  • A claim filed through the CICA would not be dealt with any quicker because your assailant is convicted
  • You risk falling foul of the 2 year deadline if you wait for a court ruling that convicts your assailant

It is worth noting that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority does not accept that missing the 2 year time limit because you waited for a court ruling before making a claim through the scheme justifies missing the statutory deadline.

What Reasons Would the CICA Not Accept if I Miss the Deadline?

If you have any unspent convictions, you would not be entitled to file a claim through the CICA because it would be rejected by the authority. As such, you must wait for any unspent convictions against you to be “spent” prior to making a CICA claim. An example being that most “fines” that you may have received would be “spent” after twelve months of them being issued but it is always best to seek legal advice from a solicitor to ensure there are no unspent fines against you. Should your claim through CICA be rejected because you have unspent fines, you would not be permitted to reapply at a later date.

Can I Still Claim Through the CICA if I Have a Life Limiting Health Condition?

A solicitor with vast experience in handling claims through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority may ensure that a case be expedited so that a victim receives their award before they pass away. As such, it is always worth contacting a lawyer for legal advice as soon as you decide you would like to seek compensation through the scheme.

Do I Have to Report a Violent Crime to the Police to Make a Claim Through the CICA?

For the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority to accept a claim through the scheme, you would need to provide the authority with a Police report. Not only would you need to have reported the incident to the Police, but you must also be seen to be co-operating with the Police throughout the process. If you are uncooperative in any way, the CICA could throw out your claim.

There may be many reasons why you appear to be uncooperative with the Police which could include the following:

  • You forget to return a call to the Police
  • You are frightened of repercussions against yourself and/or your family

Although these reasons are quite genuine, the CICA would still reject your case citing non-cooperation with the Police.

What Other Things Could Affect My Claim Through the CICA?

There are other reasons why the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority may reject a claim some of which are as follows:

  • If, after you submit a claim to the CICA, you commit a crime yourself

An example being that should you suffer any injuries during a robbery and then you commit a drink driving offence, the CICA would reject your case.

What Does Making a CICA Claim Involve?

There are rules and specific criteria that must be met for a claim to be accepted by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. These are as follows bearing in mind that compensation may be awarded for any violent crime against an innocent victim that left them injured:

  • That the incident was reported to the Police and a crime reference number was issued
  • The value of the injuries sustained are over £1,000
  • The 2 year time limit must be respected unless historic sexual abuse compensation is sought through the CICA
  • That a person is the blameless victim of a violent crime that left them suffering from injuries. You cannot be deemed to have “provoked” an attack or be the cause of a crime
  • That the victim of a violent crime does not have any previous convictions against them nor can they be deemed to be of a “dubious character”
  • Compensation awarded through the CICA scheme is based on what is referred to as “fixed tariff” as set out in the 2008 and 2012 schemes
  • If the person is the victim of violence in a family environment, they would only be awarded compensation through the CICA scheme if the assailant does not benefit from the award they are compensated

It is worth noting that specific things are excluded from the CICA scheme which are as follows:

  • Road traffic offences – you would need to file a Motor Insurers’ Bureau claim – MIB
  • You would not be awarded compensation for loss of property

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When Would a CICA Claim Be Settled?

The usual timescale for receiving compensation through the CICA scheme is anything from 12 to 18 months. However, the more complex a CICA claim is, the longer it could take for you to receive the compensation you seek. Should your injuries have left you suffering from any sort of health condition that requires long-term therapy or treatment, it could mean that a settlement takes a lot longer to reach. With this said, if your CICA claim is not complicated, you could receive a payment through the scheme much sooner which could be in several weeks.

If you are a minor, the amount of compensation you are awarded through the Scheme would be held in a account that the CICA controls. This is an interest-bearing account which a minor would be entitled to receive when they are 18 years old. If the person claiming compensation through the Scheme is not able to make decisions on their own, the compensation they receive could be held in trust.

Are There Any Reasons Why a CICA Claim Could be Delayed?

Each claim that the CICA accepts is treated on its own merits which, in short means that the time it takes to receive compensation can vary from case to case. Some cases that are very complicated need more information to support a claim which can add to the length of time before a settlement is received. This could be for the following reasons:

  • Extra medical reports are required
  • More information from the Police is needed
  • If a case involves abuse, the CICA may need more evidence to support a claim if an assailant has not been convicted
  • If a claimant requires ongoing therapy or a prognosis has not been reached, the CICA may wait until a decision is determined

If your claim takes a long time to reach a settlement, you could be entitled to an “interim payment” to ensure that you are not put under the extra pressure of being put under any sort of financial stress.

Are There Any Benefits of Asking a Solicitor To Help File a CICA Claim?

There are many rules that you must abide by for a CICA claim to be accepted. You have to get it right from the outset and avoid any of the pitfalls that could see a compensation claim through the scheme rejected. If you don’t follow the procedure correctly it could cause unnecessary delays. As such, a solicitor would be able to offer valuable legal advice, they would advise you on the sort of evidence you would be required to provide which includes medical reports, a police reference number and any other information the police could provide to support your claim for compensation through the CICA scheme.

What Can I Do If My CICA Claim is Turned Down?

If your CICA claim is turned down, you have the right to request for the authority’s decision be reviewed. However, there is a strict deadline that must be respected if you want to challenge a CICA decision. This means your request must be submitted quickly. As such, it is best to have the expertise of a criminal injury lawyer do this for you.

You also have the “right” to file an appeal if you do not agree with the review and again it is better for a solicitor to handle this for you so that time limits and the information required to appeal a review are respected.

When Should I Not Apply For Compensation Through the CICA for Criminal Injury?

If you wait for too long to file an application for criminal injury compensation through the CICA scheme, you could find that you run out of time. The authority is extremely strict when it comes to deadlines which means that should you be a day late in sending in your application, your case would be turned down.

If you have any “unspent” convictions, you should not send in an application to CICA for compensation for criminal injury because the authority will reject your case out of hand. There is no discretion when it comes to “unspent” convictions. And once your case is rejected by the authority, you cannot reapply,

You should seek the advice of a solicitor prior to submitting an application to the CICA so they can establish that you have not unspent convictions. Should there be any, the solicitor would recommend you wait until the convictions are “spent”.

If you have not cooperated with the Police, your application would be turned down and this could include having not returned a Police call, or because you were injured or when you did contact the Police, they failed to call you back. You must make sure that the Police will back you up when making an application to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority and if they do not, your case would be rejected.

Make Sure Your Injury Entitles to Make a Claim For Compensation Through the CICA Scheme

You should always seek legal advice from a criminal injury lawyer prior to making a claim for criminal injury compensation through the CICA. The reason being that many claims are rejected by the authority because an injury sustained in a violent crime is not included in the 2012 tariff of injuries scheme. An example being as follows:

  • You would not receive compensation for a broken nose – the exception being if it is an ethmoid bone that has been damaged. This is the bone that is found at the top of your nose which joins your eye socket to your skull

Do Not Fall Foul of the Deadline When Claiming Compensation Through the CICA

You must respect the strict CICA time limit for applying for compensation for criminal injury through the Scheme. A lot of claims are turned down because applicants ran out of time. A solicitor would ensure that you respect the 2 year time limit and ensure that sufficient evidence and information regarding your case is gathered as quickly as possible so it can be submitted to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

If your claim is for psychological injury, you must provide a medical report from a clinical psychiatrist or psychologist for your claim to be accepted by the CICA. If you do not have this medical report or you provide one that your GP or therapist provided, your claim would be rejected by the authority

Would a Solicitor Work On My CICA Claim on No Win No Fee Terms?

A criminal injury lawyer would first assess your case by offering you a no obligation, initial consultation for which there would be no charge. Once a lawyer has determined that case would entitle you to seek compensation through the CICA scheme, they would normally work on a No Win No Fee basis with you. This entitles the lawyer to begin their investigations straight away with having to ask for an upfront fee/retainer to do so.

You would not have to pay the lawyer any ongoing fees as your case progresses and the only time the “agreed percentage” as set out in the Conditional Fee Agreement would come due, is when the CICA settles your claim for compensation through their Scheme. The amount  due is taken from the money you are awarded by the lawyer who represented you. Should your case be unsuccessful, there would no fees to pay for the services that a criminal injury lawyer provided when representing you in a CICA compensation claim.

Informative Links

If you were the victim of an assault or a violent crime and you suffered injuries whether physical or psychological and would like to know more about how to make a claim through the CICA scheme, please follow the link provided below:

How to apply for a CICA payment

If you lost a loved one in a crime of violence, the following link provides essential reading on your right to seek bereavement compensation through the CICA scheme:

Compensation for a bereavement

To find out more about nationality and residency criteria associated with CICA claims for compensation, please follow the link below:

More about nationality and criteria 

To find out more about “balance of probabilities” that the CICA uses to assess a claim, please follow the link provided below:

More about Balance of Probabilities

 

Criminal Injuries CICA Free Advice On Payouts