Most people are aware that, if they have been involved in an accident that was not their fault, they are entitled to bring a claim for compensation.
But what if it wasn’t an accident? What if the injuries have been caused by an act of violence?
Statistics show that every year in the UK around 3% of spinal chord injuries are caused by a violent encounter, including shootings, stabbings and domestic violence.
In the UK there is a government Scheme in place to compensate the victims of violent crime. This Scheme is managed by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). If you have or you know someone who has suffered an injury as a result of a crime of violence, it is important that they are aware that they may well be entitled to compensation under this Scheme.
The CICA can award anything from £1,000 to £500,000 to victims even if the offender is not identified, caught or convicted.
Compensation can be claimed under the Scheme for:
- The injuries themselves – both physical and psychological (between 20-30% of people with permanent paralysis are affected by depression).
- Loss of earnings (past and future).
- Special expenses (past and future including the cost of treatments, aids and care).
There are a number of grounds (some of which are challengeable) on which the CICA can refuse to make an award, or make a reduced award. These include where:
- The victim has a criminal record.
- The incident was not reported to the police or the victim failed to cooperate with police investigations.
- The victim still lives with the person who injured them.
The Scheme also entitles the CICA to reduce the award for special expenses such as treatment and care by taking into account what might already be available through other public agencies such as the NHS or local authority. In reality, the care that such agencies can provide is often inadequate. Any attempt by the CICA to make deductions from the award is something that the applicant would normally be advised to challenge.
Save for in exceptional circumstances, applications to the CICA must be made within two years of the incident in question. Since the process can be a lengthy one, even with skilled representation, applications should be made at the earliest opportunity.
Partner, Personal Injury Solicitor and Head of Hodge Jones & Allen’s CICA Team