The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) will pay damages to qualifying victims of crime. Awards of compensation do not include a separate award to cover legal costs which are deducted from any sum awarded. If you have been injured in a violent assault you can make a CICA claim. The CICA was established in 1964 and handles almost 80,000 individual cases and pays out around £200 million in compensation annually.
CICA claims are mostly dealt with on a no win no fee basis however the CICA do not pay legal costs or expenses and the legal costs of dealing with a CICA claim will be deducted from the amount of any award. There is generally no charge if an award is refused by the CICA. Most claims are therefore completely risk free.
No Prosecution or Arrest Necessary
To make a successful Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority application it is essential to prove that you have been physically or mentally injured as a result of violent crime; however it is not necessary for anyone to have been prosecuted or even to have been arrested for the offence. You must however prove that the crime occurred, and you must also have reported the crime to the police immediately or have a very good reason for any delay in reporting it. You may be surprised to hear that if you have been injured in the course of crime prevention you may also be eligible for compensation.
Minimum & Maximum Awards
The current lowest CICA award is £1000; therefore the injury sustained must be serious enough to qualify for this level of compensation. The lower award applies if the injury took at least six weeks to resolve and required at least two visits to a medical practitioner. The maximum compensation level for physical injury is at present £250,000. Time limits are in place and it is imperative that CICA receives your application within two years of the incident taking place. In certain circumstances, exception of this rule can be made.
When deciding on compensation the Criminal Compensation Authority use a series of set tariffs for each individual injury sustained. This system is rigid and will not in general give as substantial injury awards as the civil courts. The CICA will pay out for a maximum of three injuries for each violent incident but the tariff value for the second and third injury is discounted by a set percentage.
As a ‘dependent or relative’ of a deceased victim you may also be entitled to claim, this can either be on behalf of yourself or a child. An individual dependent can claim £11,000 but if there is more than one dependent the sum goes down to £5,500 for each dependent.
The victims of crime have a number of options including Criminal Compensation Authority claims, issuing legal proceedings for damages in the civil courts or applying for compensation through the prosecution in the Magistrates Court or in the Crown Court and it may be best to seek legal advice about which one you should pursue.
No Win No Fee Solicitors
Most CICA claims will be dealt with by a criminal injury solicitor on a no win no fee basis, the terms of which will be explained fully, both verbally and in writing before you start your claim. If for any reason the CICA claim is rejected don’t worry, you won’t have to pay any legal fees or expenses under a no win no fee agreement. After the initial consultation, you may decide not to proceed with your claim in which case you will almost certainly not be liable for any fees – there is usually no risk involved with CICA claims.
Criminal Injury Compensation Board (CICB)
The Criminal Injury Compensation Board (CICB) was set up to provide financial compensation for the victims of violent crime. The name of the organization subsequently changed to the Criminal injjuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The CICA administers a UK Government compensation fund which is operated on the basis of attributing a ‘tariff’ or value to every different type of injury. If a victim has numerous injuries, only the worst three are considered and before aggregating the values outlined by the tariff table the second and third most serious injuries are discounted by a pre-determined percentage.
If you are disappointed with the outcome of your claim, you can request a review of your award. If the outcome of this review is still in your opinion unsatisfactory then you can appeal to the CICA Appeal Tribunal.
There is a well-established appeals procedure running throughout the determination process and interim decisions relating to a claim, made by CICA officers, can be escalated to a higher officer for reconsideration and final decisions can be taken to the independent Criminal Injury Compensation Board Appeals Panel for reconsideration. The Appeals Panel is subject to scrutiny by the Parliamentary Ombudsman who will investigate allegations of maladministration.
The regulations require the CICA to consider all of the circumstances of an application and may reduce or refuse an award in a number of circumstances which include :-
- The application must be made within two years of the assault taking place although there is power for the Criminal Injury Compensation Board to extend the time period.
- The applicants character is considered by reference to previous convictions for any offences that have not been ‘spent’ under The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. Compensation can be refused for convicted offenders.
- The applicants behaviour before, during and after the assault is considered. Anyone who voluntarily entered a fight will not receive compensation and anyone who sought to retaliate after an assault is unlikely to receive compensation.
- The trauma, either physical or psychological, must be sufficient to justify an award of at least £1,000 which usually indicates that the injury lasted for a minimum of 6 weeks and required at least two visits to see a doctor.
- The claimant must report the incident to the police or a relevant authority promptly. A CICB claim may still be paid even in the absence of a conviction provided that the applicant has co-operated fully with the police.
- Offences involving motor vehicles are excluded from the scheme unless a vehicle is deliberately used as a weapon
- There are also complex regulations relating to offences occurring within a co-habiting family and for some sexual offences.