Are you a victim of violent crime? Criminal Injuries Compensation can help.
Criminal injury is an injury that has been caused as the result of someone else’s illegal action.It can be an injury caused by a crime of violence.
There are thousands of criminal assaults occurring in the UK every year. These include unprovoked attacks, violent muggings and sexual assault (this list is not exhaustive).
The injury sustained can be physical, psychological or a combination of both. A victim of an assault who does not suffer physical injury may be able to claim for psychological trauma but to satisfy the requirements of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) you will need to prove that the trauma was mentally disabling and support that with an expert’s written report. We can discuss this issue at the initial stage, any initial discussion is free of charge. It is vitally important that you seek medical attention immediately or as soon as possible, as failure may jeopardise the claim and/or effect value.
You must co-operate with the police at all times and that means making contact as quickly as is possible after you have been assaulted especially if you have been assaulted by a stranger as opposed to someone you know. Failure to contact the police as quickly as you can is likely to cause your claim to be rejected.
You must also make it clear to the police when you speak with them that you are prepared to co-operate giving evidence at a trial. If you withdraw your co-operation or consent, in other words if you fail to co-operate with the police, the chances are that you will be unsuccessful in claiming compensation.
The apprehension or attempted apprehension of an offender or a suspected offender, the prevention or attempted prevention of an offence, or the giving of help to any constable who is engaged in any such activity.
The ‘same roof’ rule, whereby victims of violent crime occurring before 1979 were ineligible if the attacker was someone with whom they lived, was abolished in 2019, which means that victims of domestic violence can claim criminal injury.
There are thousands of criminal assaults occurring in the UK every year. These include unprovoked attack, violent muggings and sexual assault.
What constitutes criminal injury?
Common assault (section 39, Criminal Justice Act 1988)
Common assault is where someone inflicts violence on another person, or makes someone think they are about to be attacked.
They don’t have to be physically violent towards the person. Threatening words or a raised fist could lead the victim to believe they are going to be attacked – and that is enough for the crime to have been committed.
Assault occasioning actual bodily harm (section 47, Offences against the person act 1861)
An offence which causes physical harm to the victim whether intentional or reckless, constitutes an assault occasioning ABH. The injury doesn’t have to be serious or permanent but it must be more than just a petty incident – ‘transient or trifling’.
Some types of psychiatric harm can also be covered by this offence, but must be more than just fear or anxiety.
Grievous bodily harm / wounding
This covers two offences:
- Unlawful wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm (section 20, Offences against the person act 1861)
- Causing grievous bodily harm with intent to do grievous bodily harm/wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm (section 18, Offences against the person act 1861)
Unlawful wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm (section 20)
Grievous bodily harm means grave physical harm although it does not have to be permanent or dangerous. It can also comprise psychiatric injury or someone passing on an infection, such as through sexual activity.
The injury must be inflicted directly or indirectly by some deliberate or reckless conduct by the offender that was not an accident.
Causing grievous bodily harm with intent to do grievous bodily harm/wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm (section 18)
This is the most serious of the assault offences and involves situations in which someone intended to cause very serious harm to the victim.
An offence may take one of four different forms, namely:
- Wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm;
- Causing grievous bodily harm with intent to do so;
- Maliciously wounding with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension etc. of any person; or
- Maliciously causing grievous bodily harm with intent to resist or prevent lawful apprehension etc. of any person.
The difference between this offence and a section 20 offence as above is that in a section 18 offence, the offender must have intended to cause serious bodily harm to the victim.
What kinds of assault can cause criminal injury?
Assault in a public place
Where someone has used threatening and abusive behaviour or physical violence with the intention to harm and distress another.
Assault in a prison
This can be an assault on a person working in a prison by inmates or one by a prison officer on an inmate.
Assault at work
Kicking slapping, spotting and pushing can all constitute an assault in the workplace. This could be done by anyone – a colleague or a customer.
Bullying aggressive or violent behaviour within the home and any instances of sexual abuse.
Assault leading to fatality
Aggravated assault, manslaughter and murder are amongst the most serious criminal acts.
Assault with a weapon
This is where a person intentionally or recklessly causes the immediate infliction of unlawful force on somebody using a weapon such as a gun, knife, acid etc.
This is where a sexual contact has been made without consent. It could be touching through clothes, stalking, groping, rape and child sexual abuse.
What proof is needed in a criminal injury case?
The victim needs documents and evidence to prove liability, these can include photographs of where the incident took place, photographs of any injuries and any written reports from where the incident took place. It is highly likely there will be police reports and documentation from any witnesses to the crime.
It is worth noting that if a person is injured in a criminal attack, it can still be possible to claim compensation, even if no one is convicted of the crime.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
Convictions, and indeed a lack thereof, may not always deliver the justice victims of crime are entitled to expect. To that end, for the benefit of victims of violent crime, the government set up the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board – now, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
This is a state-funded organisation to which applications to compensate innocent parties injured in the commission of a crime can be submitted. There is a £500,000 upper limit to CICA claims.
Although it is possible to submit and manage your own claim, it is a difficult, time-consuming process for which a good degree of legal expertise is expected and in a time of continued government austerity which prompts agencies like the CICA to be particularly difficult about issuing compensation and so for that reason, it is advisable to seek the assistance of an experienced solicitor to represent your interests.
What is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme?
The government, recognising that people suffer as a consequence of crime, set up the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme – a government funded scheme designed to compensate victims of violent crime in Great Britain. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), administer the Scheme and decide all claims.
The rules of the Scheme and the value of the payments awarded are set by Parliament and are calculated by reference to a tariff of injuries.
Do you need for an individual or individuals to be prosecuted for a crime in order to make a success application for compensation?
Answer – No. It is important that you co-operate with the police as soon as possible, that you assist them as best you can with statements and that you signify your intention to attend court as a witness, if necessary.
In a number of assaults the person who causes he crime may not be detected, found or identified. Again, we stress co-operating with the police is the most important element in presenting a case to the CICA.
- If the police fail to prosecute because of a lack of evidence that is not your responsibility and it is unlikely to unduly affect your claim.
- If the person who commits a crime against you is tried at court but is found not guilty at a trial then such may not affect your claim if the police believe you are an innocent victim. We would need to know all the facts.
Please be aware that CICA cases have prescribed compensation for injuries received, in other words an injury will have a specific level of compensation or value. We can discuss this issue with you at interview and as the case progresses because obviously what cannot be known at the outset is whether the injuries will be permanent and/or significant.
Loss of earnings is not paid for the first 28 weeks of work absence. In other words you do not receive any loss of earnings compensation from the CICA unless you have been off work for more than 28 weeks (which is 2 weeks over 6 months).
If you suffer multiple injury in an assault the CICA only pay for 3 injuries sustained in an assault. Effectively you have to list all of your injuries ranking first the most serious injury sustained. If successful you will receive 100% for the most significant injury, 30% for the second most significant injury and 15% for the third most significant injury. Thereafter any additional or other injuries of which you complain are ignored. Each of the 3 injuries that are taken into consideration are totalled together.
CICA compensation is not particularly generous, certainly not at the same levels as compensation for accident claims.
What payments are available from the Scheme?
A victim can claim for the following:
- Mental or physical injury following a crime of violence.
- Sexual or physical abuse.
- Loss of earnings – where the person has no or only limited capacity to work as the direct result of a criminal injury.
- Special expenses payments – these cover certain costs the victim may have incurred as a direct result of an incident.
- A death caused by a crime of violence including bereavement payments, payments for loss of parental services and financial dependency; and funeral payments.
Not all claims for compensation will be successful; the person must be eligible under the rules of the Scheme.
Let us represent you
At Wafer Phillips we have a proven track-record in securing significant compensation payments for our clients. We have a network of experienced, sympathetic medical professionals who can help us to build a compelling case on your behalf. So if you’ve suffered physically or mentally as a result of violent crime in the last two years talk to us now. We’ll provide free, confidential and professional advice on the best course of action.
Costs are not paid by the CICA, this therefore means that we are forced, as are other Solicitors, to deduct part of your compensation in payment of our costs, at the moment this is set at 20% plus VAT and any other additional expenses. Usually the CICA will pay for medical reports in addition to the compensation that they offer (in successful cases) but such payments are at the discretion of the CICA. It is important for the medical report in question to advance the claim to make a difference. It is nigh on impossible to successfully claim compensation for a psychological injury unless you gather a report from a specialist, that is either a Psychiatrist or a Clinical Psychologist, we obviously need to discuss this issue.
As well as reporting matters to the local police force you need to be proactive and sensible in regard to medical attention. Particularly we would say that this matters in regard to psychological injuries. Failure to act reasonably may cause the CICA to reject your claim. Again, if you promptly discuss this issue with us we can give further advice. We would always have an initial free of charge discussion.
WE ARE STILL A NO WIN, NO FEE FIRM
If you need the help of an experienced solicitor to represent you in a Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme claim we at Wafer Philips solicitors are here to help.