Most criminal injury solicitors are members of the Solicitors Regulation Authority panel of personal injury experts. Criminal Injury solicitors usually offer free initial advice on Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) applications and will review your potential claim and estimate its value. If the claim is refused or the award is inadequate, in appropriate cases, they will appeal the decision, often at no extra cost.
When the CICA was created in 1964 it made awards to the victims of violent crime in much the same way that civil courts handle personal injury claims. The amount of an award was determined based on an individual and personal assessment however this system resulted in gross inconsistency in the amount of damages being recommended by different claims handlers at the CICA. Victims with similar injuries were being awarded different amounts and criminal injury solicitors were advising almost every claimant to appeal their final award.
The CICA’s system for reviewing claims and making awards was completely overhauled in 1996 with subsequent amendments in 2001 which introduced a tariff scheme, implemented to simplify and standardize the claims process. Under this scheme, various physical and psychological injuries are assigned a value. Each injury is then placed into one of 25 tariff bands in accordance with the assigned value. The bands range in value from £1,000 to £250,000. A victim receives compensation only for their three worst injuries. For their worst injury, the victim is awarded the full value dictated by the applicable band. The amount awarded for the second and third worst injuries is reduced by set percentage rates. There is a cap on the maximum amount of damages a victim may be awarded. The effect of this scheme is to limit the opportunity for criminal injury solicitors to make an appeal thereby making the process more manageable from the CICA point of view.
The victim may also qualify for further compensation in addition to that awarded for their injuries. For instance, a victim may be entitled to lost wages if, as a result of their injuries, they were absent from work for more than 28 weeks, but losses are only awarded for the subsequent period. Your criminal compensation solicitor can also claim for certain other expenses which may include:-
- cost of treatment through the National Health Service
- costs associated with private health treatment
- lost or damaged physical aids
- expenses incurred for special equipment, ongoing care and/or home adaptations
Your criminal compensation solicitor will explain all of the CICA regulations in detail however the following basic requirements must be met :-
- the recovery period lasted at least six weeks
- the injury required at least two visits to a doctor
- the victim promptly reported the incident at the time
- the victim did not provoke or agree to the incident
- the victim did not engage in retaliatory behaviour
- the victim has cooperated with the police investigation
- the victim assisted the prosecution of the offender
- the CICA received the application within two years of the date of the incident – there is discretionary authority to extend this period
Note that the perpetrator need not be identified, apprehended or prosecuted in order for the victim to obtain compensation. Also, the CICA has the authority to reduce or refuse the victim’s award if the victim has a record of unspent criminal convictions.