Personal injury claims are easy to make and there are hundreds of firms who will be delighted to assist you with making a claim. However, there are two routes open to victims of criminal injuries, which may be worth exploring before you start hiring expensive lawyers.
Obtaining compensation through a criminal compensation order
If you have been the victim of criminal offense which somebody has been convicted of, you may be entitled to compensation. A convicted person may be ordered by a court to pay compensation for injury, loss or damage which was caused while committing the offense.
If you have sustained an injury or loss which forms part of a prosecution case it is important to make sure that your legal representatives have full and accurate information about the harm you suffered. They will then be able to apply for a criminal compensation order on your behalf as you are not allowed to apply yourself.
The amount of compensation you receive depends on what the offender can afford to pay, and is not allowed to exceed £5,000. This may not sound like a huge amount, but it does come with the added advantage that if a court makes an order, then the court itself is responsible for making sure the offender pays up.
Obtaining compensation from The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) compensates victims who have suffered through violent crime. In order to qualify as a ‘criminal injury’ the incident must have occurred in the UK and be directly attributable to either violent crime (for instance arson, assault or poisoning), trespass on a railway (for instance train drivers traumatized by suicide) or helping the police after a crime has been committed. Close relatives of victims who died from their injuries are also entitled to claim.
There is no need for a conviction in order for compensation to be paid but the injury must be serious enough to warrant the CICA’s minimum claim of £1,000. Under the CICA’s tariff, £1,000 would be paid out to the victim of a minor sexual assault, someone who had chipped a tooth, or suffered from a variety of injuries requiring six to thirteen weeks recovery.
Multiple minor injuries may also qualify if their total is adjudged to be worth more than £1,000, and provided the victim has needed to visit a doctor at least twice. Regulations state that at least three separate injuries from the following list must have been sustained, one of which must have lasted at least six weeks. The list includes: grazing, cuts or lacerations, severe and widespread bruising, a severe soft tissue injury, a black eye, a bloody nose, hair pulled from scalp and loss of a fingernail.
The fixed tariff of payments ranges from the minimum £1,000 up to £250,000 for extreme brain damage. Road traffic accidents are excluded as they are covered by motor insurance companies, and delaying a claim or refusing to help police bring the offender to justice is likely to hinder your case. Claims can be made directly through CICA, and it is important to make a careful record of crime reference number, the police officer and police station who dealt with you, and the details of the hospital and doctors who treated you.
Robert Wood – Make a Personal Injury Claim