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, 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.
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.
Unfortunately since 2012 sweeping changes have been made to the legal system. Costs are fixed so that we are only entitled to a set amount of money for the work that we do and this is very low. This therefore means that we are forced, as are other solicitors, to deduct part of your compensation in part payment of our costs and at the moment this is set at a maximum of 25% + VAT (30% OF YOUR DAMAGES IN TOTAL, MAXIMUM) of your compensation. If you are to receive £4,000.00 in compensation we would deduct £1,000.00. There is obviously an incentive for us to secure for you the best possible deal –something that is, of course, mutually beneficial.
Prior to 2012 if a case was taken to Court and lost the defendant’s costs would have to be paid by the loser, either you or us. However, since the introduction of Qualified One-Way Costs Shifting – also known as QOCS – if a case proceeds to trial and is lost there is no responsibility on you or us to pay the opposition’s costs but there is one significant exception to this rule which is that if the Court decides, however, that if you have behaved fraudulently the protection is removed and you will be personally liable to pay the opposition’s fees. The Government are keen to stop what it sees as widespread fraud and deception (the actual reality is another matter) in regard to car crash claims and it is because of this perception that changes have been made and continue to be made to the legal system.
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.