Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
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If you have suffered an injury as a result of a violent crime against you, we can help you submit a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). This is a Government-run agency designed to compensate innocent victims who have suffered physical and/or psychological injuries as a result of a violent crime.
Submitting a claim to the CICA is not the same as bringing a claim against an individual for injuries sustained, for example, in a road traffic accident. When an application is made to the CICA, they undertake the investigations. To be eligible, the applicant must have co-operated with the Police in their investigation. If the assailant has not been convicted or even caught, this does not make any difference to your application as the CICA place more importance on your co-operation with the Police. In signing the application form, you are allowing the CICA to contact the Police and your GP/hospital to obtain information about your injuries.
“You should also be aware the CICA will take into account any criminal convictions you may have had in the past.”
They will also consider your behaviour before, during and after the incident and if it may have contributed to the incident in question, in which case, they may reduce any award made or reject it altogether.
Once they have carried out their investigations, the CICA will make a decision as to whether or not to make an award. The CICA base their decision on a tariff system. There are 25 separate levels ranging from £1,000 for the least serious injury to £250,000 for the most serious. In addition, they may also take into account financial losses although there are very strict rules relating to claiming for financial loss.
If, after their initial decision, the CICA have made an award which you feel is too low or if they have rejected your application completely, you do have the option of applying to the CICA asking them to review their decision. If you remain dissatisfied after this step, you have the option of submitting an appeal.
You should be aware that there are two important differences between submitting an application to the CICA and bringing a claim against an individual for injuries sustained in, for example, a road traffic accident.
Firstly, the CICA will not pay your costs even if you are successful. This means that our costs together with the cost of disbursements (e.g. obtaining medical evidence) will be deducted from your award. We will be able to assist you on the understanding that if your application fails, we will not charge you. If you are successful, we will only charge you up to a maximum of 25% plus VAT of your award. Your costs will only become payable once your award is received.
Secondly, an application must be made within two years of the date of the incident. If the application is not made within this deadline, the CICA is unlikely to consider your application. In exceptional circumstances, it is possible to invite the CICA to waive this time limit but it is only on very rare occasions that the CICA will agree to consider an application outside the two year limitation period.
For free legal advice, contact our specialist Personal Injury team on 033 33 582 583.