CRIMINAL Injury COMPENSATION Claims
What is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme?
This is a government funded scheme that allows blameless victims of a violent crime to get a financial award. The amount of that award will be subject to the CICA’s assessment.
The scheme is for people injured in England, Wales and Scotland. Northern Ireland has its own scheme.
An applicant maybe able to claim outside Great Britain, but inevitably these are likely to be more complex.
What compensation is available?
- Awards for personal injury including a single incident of abuse
- Personal injury following a period of abuse
- Fatal injuries including financial dependency and loss of parental services
- Loss of earnings and special expenses
As with conventional personal injury claims, the CICA will take into account any pre-incident medical conditions.
The dependent or close relative of a person who died as a result of violent crime normally means husband, wife, civil partner, parent or child.
The application generally has to be made within two years following the incident. The time limit maybe disregarded but only in exceptional circumstances.
Injuries are serious enough to qualify for the lowest minimum award that the scheme can pay i.e. £1,000.00.
If the award is not serious enough to qualify for £1,000.00 the CICA will not make a payment.
You cannot get an award if you:-
- Injured before 1 August 1964
- Already applied for compensation under the scheme and applications for more than one payment will be prosecuted for attempted fraud
- If the injury happened before 1 October 1979 and you and the person who injured you were living togther as members of the same family.
The CICA will not make an award if there is a continuing close link between the Claimant and the offender and it is likely that the offender would benefit from the award.
Convictions of person who injured you
You maybe able to get an award even if the person who injured you is not prosecuted.
What is violent crime?
The CICA expect it to have involved a physical attack, although this is not always the case.
Examples of attacks include:-
- Assault (physical or sexual)
- Where you were injured as a direct result of a crime of arson
- Where there is a deliberate attempt to poison you
- Where an animal was deliberately set on you with the intent of causing you injury
- Where someone deliberately ran you down with a vehicle not a conventional RTA
For the purpose of the scheme personal injury is a physical injury including a fatal injury, sexual abuse or assault, mental injury, mental or physical disease and is directly related to a crime of violence.
NB If you were not physically injured the CICA will not consider making an award for mental injury or disease alone. Anything outside the general descriptions may still enable an applicant to claim but more detailed information is obviously required.
Conduct and Character
The scheme is intended to compensate blameless victims of crime. The CICA will check that the applicant’s behaviour did not contribute to the incident where they sustained the injuries.
They will also take into account the applicant’s criminal record if they have one. This may mean that they will refuse the claim or reduce the amount for compensation offered.
They will take into account the applicant’s behaviour during or after the accident.
The CICA are likely to refuse or reduce a claim if:-
- You willingly took part in a fight
(ii) You were acting in an aggressive or threatening way that provoked the incident
- There is a history of assaults of fighting between you and the person who injured you
- You were injured as a result of charging someone over a previous incident
- You were taking part in illegal activities when you were injured
- You did not take reasonable steps to get out of the situation where it was likely that you would get hurt
- Excessive consumptions of alcohol or drugs.
The CICA will take this into account and their investigations may result in them reducing or refusing an award.
Applicant’s Criminal Record
The scheme says that you must reduce or refuse an award if the applicant has a criminal record. In deciding how much of a reduction they will look at the length of the criminal record and the time that has passed since the last offence. They are likely to refuse an award or make a substantial reduction.
They will ignore any convictions which can be treated as spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
Failure to Report the Claim Quickly
The CICA will normally refuse a claim if you do not report the incident to the police straight away to ensure the best chance of catching the guilty party. There are exceptions:-
- Child abuse
- The kind of injuries that meant that you could not reasonably have expected to make a full report to the police immediately.
Exceptions are likely to be that you are reporting a matter to the Military Police, a prison warden or a medical officer in an institution for people with mental illness.
If you fail to co-operate with the police, the Courts or the CICA, it is unlikely that you will recover an award.
Reviews and Appeals
If you appeal the decision of the CICA, this needs to be done within 90 days of their decision.
Whilst a possible outcome of a review is that you might get a larger award, it is also possible that the CICA can lower the award or reduce the decision to no award at all.
Claiming after a Period of Abuse
Cases involving members of the same household
There are restrictions on making awards to people who are living as members of the same family, in the same household.
Reporting to the police
If you were abused as a child no matter how long ago the abuse took place, the applicant should report it to police before making contact with the CICA. The CICA will need to check with the police that the crime has been reported. This is their protection against fraud.
Applications on behalf of children
Under the scheme an application on behalf of a child under the age 18 must be made by an adult with parental responsibility for the child. Usually this person is one of the child’s parents, but if the child has been abused within the immediate family this maybe impossible.
More details about making an application on behalf of the child need be obtained.
Compensation when there has been a fatal injury maybe made to qualifying Claimant and this is someone who when the victim died was one of the following groups:-
- Victim’s wife, husband or partner, registered under the Civil Partnership Act 2004. The couple must have been living together immediately before the victim died or if they were not living together they must have been because of infirmity or ill health.
- The victim’s former wife, husband or partner, registered under the Civil Partnership Act 2004, but only if the victim was supporting them financially immediately before the date the victim died.
- An unmarried partner of the victim if they were living together as husband and wife or as partners of the same sex immediately before the victim died and at least two years before that.
- The natural parents of the victim or the person or people the victim treated as their own parents.
- The children of the victim or the people who were the victim accepted as their children or who were dependent on the victim.
The definition of child is not limited to a person below the age of 18. It includes adult children and an unborn child of a person who has died conceived before they died and born a life after they die. The parents of a victim can receive compensation whatever the age of the victim.
Whoever paid for the funeral whether or not they are eligible for other compensation can apply for these expenses to be paid back.
Types of compensation for death as a result of criminal injury maybe entitled to compensation for “the standard amount of compensation”.
Loss of parental services if you are a child aged under 18.
Standard amount is a merely a gesture of public sympathy for the grief caused by the death.
NB If there is only one qualifying Claimant the standard amount of compensation is £11,000.00.
If there is more than one qualifying Claimant the standard amount of compensation is £5,500.00 for each person. These are set amounts.
Loss of Earnings and Special Expenses
Compensation under these headings can be made if the victim lost earnings or lost the capacity to earn their living as a direct result of the injury provided that the loss lasted longer than 28 weeks running from the date of the injury, and if the victim was off work for several separate periods with the same injury, which add up to more than 28 weeks they maybe able to claim.
If the victim was self-employed they would ask for a copy of annual accounts.
Taking into Account the Applicant’s Criminal Record
Because it is not easy to be sure whether or not a conviction is spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 the more serious the penalty the offender received and the more recently it was given, the longer the conviction would take to be spent. A conviction leading to a prison sentence of 30 months or more is never spent.
The Penalty Points System
The more recent the conviction and the more serious the penalty the more penalty points the conviction will attract. The CICA will then use the number of penalty points to decide what level of reduction to make. They will also take into account any conviction the Claimant received after the incident or after applying right through to the date when the case is finally settled.
There is a table of penalty points and the percentage reduction.
1 penalty point will reduce in the reduction of 10%
10 penalty points will produce a reduction of 100%
Levels of Compensation
There are over 400 different categories in which the tariff makes a specific award for each injury.
Some less obvious awards that may result in compensation
- Infection with HIV/Hepatitis B/Hepatitis C – awards to £22,0000.00
- Loss of foetus - £5,500.00
- Physical abuse of children
- Sexual offence with a victim is any age (if not already compensated as a child)
- Sexual offence where a victim is a child under the age of 18 at time of commencement of offence or an adult who by reason of a mental incapacity is incapable of giving consent