If you have been the victim of a violent crime, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. Besides the physical pain, a criminal assault can cause severe psychological trauma that can change your life forever. You may not be able to go back to work or carry out daily activities, which could put a lot of financial strain on you and your family.
Violent crimes include assaults, physical and sexual abuse, terrorist attacks and hit and run accidents. In these situations, the offender is often unidentified, uninsured or cannot afford to pay for the damages they caused you. However, blameless victims of violent crime could still receive compensation by making a CICA claim.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is an executive agency funded by the Ministry of Justice. It deals with criminal injury compensation claims on behalf of victims who suffered a physical or psychological injury following a violent crime.
A CICA claim is possible when you cannot pursue compensation through the civil courts. Unlike a personal injury claim, the time limit to bring a criminal injury claim is usually two years after an incident, and you must report it to the police.
However, there are exceptions to the two year limit for claims related to childhood or historic sexual abuse. If you have a valid claim, your solicitor will offer you a no win no fee agreement, so you do not have to worry about taking any financial risks.
Who can make a criminal injury compensation claim?
You could be eligible for criminal injury compensation if you suffered an injury due to an unprovoked violent crime. Besides physical injuries, you can also claim for the psychological trauma you experienced and any related financial expenses.
There are some criteria you need to meet in order to have a valid criminal injury claim:
- The incident took place in the last two years. If you want to claim after more than two years, you need relevant and robust evidence that you were unable to bring a claim sooner.
- The incident occurred in the UK, where you were an ordinarily resident at the time.
- You must have reported the crime to the police, usually within 48 hours after the incident.
- Your behaviour must not have contributed to the crime.
- The offender must not be able to benefit from your compensation.
- If you want to make a claim for psychological damages, you need to be clinically diagnosed by a psychiatrist or psychologist.
You might be able to claim criminal injuries compensation even if the responsible person is not identified or convicted. Nonetheless, you might not have a valid case if:
- You took too long to report the accident to the police, or you did not report it at all.
- You have unspent criminal convictions such as a community order or custodial sentence.
- Your conduct played a contributing role in the assault.
- You failed to cooperate with the authorities or the CICA.
- Your physical injuries were minor, such as bruising, a black eye or a broken nose.
- Your psychological injuries were mild and short-lived, with no formal treatment or diagnosis.
You might be eligible for criminal injury compensation both as a victim or if a loved one died as a result of a violent crime, including:
- Physical and sexual abuse
- Terrorist attacks
- Domestic violence
- Child abuse
- Hit and run accidents
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a claim and can answer any questions you may have.
What is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)?
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is an executive agency of the UK Government. It is funded by the Ministry of Justice in England and Wales and by the Justice Directorate in Scotland. It came into force in 1965, aiming to compensate blameless victims of violent crimes.
The most recent compensation payment act is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012. It was introduced on 30 September 2012 and applies to all claims brought from 27 November 2012. Certain minor injuries were removed from the scheme, while others decreased in value. It also introduced a compensation award for victims of terrorist attacks that happened abroad.
According to the 2012 scheme, victims with unspent criminal convictions cannot make a claim, regardless of their offence. Claims for loss of earnings are assessed at the rate of statutory sick pay without considering the claimant’s actual losses.
The criminal injuries scheme 2012 sets out over 400 injuries and allocates up to 25 different tariffs for each injury, ranging from £1,000 to £250,000. The maximum compensation award in a criminal injury claim remains at £500,000, unchanged since the 1996 scheme.
The CICA deals with over 30,000 claims each year, paying more than £130M to victims of violent crime. Making a claim for a violent crime is different from a usual personal injury claim. Some of the eligibility criteria include:
- You must have reported the incident to the police and have a crime reference number.
- You need to cooperate with the authorities in their investigations.
- Usually, you have two years to bring a claim, whereas the limitation date to make a personal injury claim is three years after an accident.
- The crime must have happened in the UK (except for some specific exceptions, such as terrorist attacks that happen abroad).
If you fulfil the relevant criteria, you could claim for any physical and mental injuries you sustained, as well as for loss of earnings. The CICA compensation award also covers funeral costs and bereavement payments if a loved one lost their life in a violent crime. You could also make a financial dependency claim.
What type of crimes can I claim compensation for?
The CICA offers compensation for innocent victims of various violent crimes, including:
- Domestic violence – you will need evidence that you had no blame and the attacker cannot benefit from your compensation. The CICA can turn down a claim if you were abused by your partner and have chosen to remain with them. The compensation award usually varies between £2,000 and £8,200, depending on the physical injuries sustained.
- Childhood abuse – any sexual abuse reported to the police after 1965 could be eligible for compensation. You need to report the abuse to the police before making a criminal injury claim, even if it occurred many years ago. You should be able to claim even if the abuser has passed away.
- Shaken baby syndrome – this is a severe brain injury caused by a forceful and violent shake of a baby. It can affect children up to five years, and it takes as little as five seconds of shaking to cause severe damage. It is considered a criminal act, and the victims are entitled to compensation for their injuries and future costs of care, treatment and aid.
- Stab injuries – the CICA will pay compensation for internal injuries, tendon and ligament damage, fractures, scarring and disfigurement associated with the stabbing. You may also claim compensation for any diagnosed psychological trauma caused by the event. However, it is unlikely to receive compensation for a stab wound that healed well and caused no other damage.
- Assaults – any assault that caused physical or psychological trauma might result in a valid criminal injury claim. To be eligible for a CICA claim, you must promptly report the incident to the police. Your injuries need to be severe enough to reach the minimum compensation award of £1,000, and the incident must have happened in the UK.
- Rape and sexual assault – any act of penetration without consent is defined as rape by the Ministry of Justice and might be awarded compensation under the CICA scheme. Assaults like groping, where there has not been any penetration, might still qualify for a criminal injury claim. It is important to report the incident to the police as soon as possible, and it is very helpful if there were witnesses to the assault.
- Terrorist attacks – you could receive criminal injury compensation if you were injured or lost a loved one in a terrorist attack. Acts of terrorism generally include bombing, shootings, kidnapping and hijacking. You might be able to claim even if you witness a terrorist attack that has caused you psychological trauma. Since 2012, it is also possible to make a criminal injury claim for a terrorist attack that took place abroad.
- Hit and run accidents – if you or a loved one suffered an injury in a road accident and the responsible driver failed to stop, you could make a CICA claim. This applies to pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, motorcycle drivers and passengers. To be eligible for compensation, you need to file a police report within 48 hours of the accident, and there must be evidence that the accident was caused deliberately. If this isn’t the case, a hit and run claim could be made through the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) instead.
- Fatalities – you might receive criminal injuries compensation if a loved one lost their life due to a violent crime, either at the scene of the crime or in the following days, weeks or months. Qualifying relatives include parents, children and spouses. The CICA scheme involves a bereavement payment, child’s payment and dependency payment. There is no limit to the number of relatives who could make a CICA claim in these circumstances.
How do I make a CICA claim?
The CICA is a taxpayer-funded government organisation that awards criminal injury compensation to victims of violent crime. Since it was founded in 1965, the scheme became more limited and stricter in awarding compensation. The top reasons that prevent a claim include:
- The incident was not reported to the police
- The claimant has unspent criminal convictions
- There is no medical evidence of any long-term effects of an injury
- The injuries suffered were too minor or short-lived
If you suffered any injuries in a criminal attack, the first thing you should do is report the accident to the police. Usually, you should do this within the first 48 hours and then cooperate with the authorities during investigations.
If you believe you might be eligible for criminal injury compensation, you should contact an experienced solicitor. They can let you know if you have a valid claim and answer any questions you might have. If your case is valid, they will usually act for you on a no win no fee basis.
A no win no fee claim means that you are taking no financial risks if you make a CICA claim. Your solicitor will offer their help and support without asking for any upfront fees. Furthermore, if you lose the claim, you do not have to pay them anything.
Having a solicitor represent your case provides further benefits, such as:
- They will deal with the CICA correspondence so you can move on with your life without having a constant reminder of the traumatic events.
- They will fight and appeal any rejections for criminal injuries compensation.
- Your solicitor will ensure you receive the right amount of compensation for your injuries.
- You will receive impartial and professional advice throughout the claim.
Once your solicitor has checked that you are eligible to make a criminal injury claim, they will carefully prepare your CICA application. There are several essential pieces of evidence you will need to gather, such as:
- Proof that you meet the residency requirements.
- A police accident report related to the incident and proof that you cooperated with the authorities.
- Medical evidence of any physical or psychological injuries for which the CICA scheme provides compensation.
- Evidence of lost wages, both past and future.
- Witness reports, when available.
After filing the CICA application, your case will follow some basic steps, which include:
- Investigation – the CICA will investigate your claim based on the evidence provided. If you are refused compensation, your solicitor may appeal the decision.
- Compensation – if the criminal injury compensation award offered by CICA is too low, you can appeal the amount, often with a positive result.
- Conclusion – if your claim is successful and you are happy with the settlement, the CICA will award you compensation.
What is the time limit for making a CICA claim?
Unlike standard personal injury claims, you will generally have no more than two years to apply for a CICA claim. If you have sufficient information to help the CICA make a decision, you can ask for compensation immediately after an incident. You do not have to wait for the outcome of your case or the police investigations.
A claims officer may extend the limitation date if there is an exceptional reason for not claiming earlier. The claims officer must have sufficient evidence related to your claim to make a decision without further investigations.
There are a few exceptions to the two-year limit:
- If you were under 18 when the incident happened and it was reported to the police, you have until your 20th birthday to claim criminal injury compensation.
- If you were under 18 when the crime happened, and it was not reported to the police, you can make a claim within two years after reporting it to the authorities.
- If you have been subject to historical sexual abuse, the two-year countdown starts once you report the abuse to the police.
- If you could not make a claim within the two years due to severe psychological trauma, you would need medical evidence that you have been regularly seeing a consultant psychiatrist or psychologist. The two-year time limit starts to run once you regain your intellectual ability.
- The two-year limitation date to make a claim is also suspended if you have proof that your physical health did not allow you to bring a claim sooner.
As a general rule, the earlier you bring a claim, the easier it is for CICA to investigate it and the sooner you might receive compensation. If you feel you may have a valid criminal injury compensation claim, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser.
How much criminal injuries compensation can I claim?
The amount of compensation you could receive in a criminal injury compensation claim will depend on several factors related to your injury, its circumstances, lost wages and the support and rehabilitation you need. The compensation award covers:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Psychological trauma
- The cost of present and future care and assistance
- The cost of mobility aids to help with your injuries
- Home adaptations to cope with your injuries
- Loss of present and future wages
- Other financial expenses related to the violent crime
CICA only offers compensation for items that cannot otherwise be obtained for free, so you may need to check whether the NHS or benefit payments could cover your needs. Furthermore, you can only claim for out of pocket expenses if your injuries left you unable to work for more than 28 weeks.
There is a fixed tariff scheme the CICA uses to award compensation. The lowest award is set at £1,000 and the highest at £500,000. The tariff of injuries is divided into two parts:
Part A covers physical and mental injuries. According to the CICA scheme, you could receive:
- £1,500 for a moderately disabling illness or condition where symptoms last for more than 28 weeks but are not permanent
- £6,200 for an illness or condition with permanent mild symptoms
- £22,000 for a seriously disabling disorder with permanent symptoms
- £2,400 for a disabling mental injury lasting between 28 weeks and two years
- £27,000 for a severely disabling permanent mental injury
- £11,000 for severe facial scars or disfigurement
- £6,200 for a minor head injury with permanent symptoms
- £55,000 for moderate brain damage causing some dependence on others, reduced ability to work and intellectual deficit
- £13,500 for continuing epilepsy partially controlled by medicine
- £16,500 for very severe permanent tinnitus
- £55,000 for substantial loss of vision in both eyes
- £3,500 for a simple skull fracture requiring surgery
- £2,400 for loss of two or three front teeth
- £3,500 for a fractured hand with continuing disability
- £175,000 for complete paraplegia
- £250,000 for substantially complete upper and lower limb quadriplegia
Part B covers sexual and physical abuse and other payments:
- £11,000 paid to a single qualifying relative of a fatal criminal victim
- £5,500 for repetitive domestic abuse resulting in minor disfigurement
- £13,500 for domestic abuse of children resulting in severe multiple injuries
- £22,000 for sexual assault resulting in severe internal injuries
- £27,000 for non-penile sexual assault of a minor resulting in severe mental illness
- £33,000 for non-consensual penile penetration of a minor causing moderate mental illness
If you sustained multiple injuries, the CICA will pay the full amount for the most severe one. Then you will get 30% of the compensation for the second most severe one and 15% for the third most serious injury. The CICA scheme does not allow claiming for more than three injuries.
Can you claim if nobody was convicted for the crime?
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a violent crime in the UK, you might want to claim criminal injury compensation. You have two options for claiming:
Through the criminal or civil court, but only if the attacker was identified and has enough money to pay you compensation.
Through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The CICA accepts criminal injury claims even if the criminal was not caught or identified, charged by the police or found guilty in court.
You could make a CICA claim for any violent crime, including assault, sexual abuse, mugging, deliberate hit and run accidents or terrorist attacks, as long as:
- You are the innocent victim of the crime
- You suffered physical or psychological injuries as a result
- You immediately reported the incident to the police
Many victims of crime believe there must be a conviction to be eligible for compensation, but this is not true. Even if the criminal was identified and prosecuted, it might take more than two years to get a court sentence. This means you will not be able to make a CICA claim within the two-year time limit.
You can still get full compensation for your injuries even if no one was caught or convicted. You only need evidence that a relevant crime took place and you suffered an injury as a result. Thus, you should report the incident promptly to the police and fully cooperate with their inquiries.
Can you claim criminal injury compensation if you have a criminal record?
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is an organisation that pays compensation to blameless victims of violent crime. You can qualify to make a CICA claim even if the responsible person is not caught or committed.
However, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012 does not award compensation to claimants who, at the date of application, have an unspent conviction with any of the following penalties:
- A community order
- A sentence excluded from rehabilitation
- A custodial sentence
- A youth rehabilitation order
- A sentence of service detention
- Any equivalent sentence in Northern Ireland or the EU
Since 2014, however, the CICA’s position is that they may refuse or reduce a compensation award if you have a criminal record. If you receive a reduced settlement, penalty points are given based on the severity of your crime.
Each penalty point reduces the compensation by 10%. Minor crimes receive a penalty of one point, while the maximum penalty is set at ten points, in which case your claim will be rejected. This system is a guide that is open to discretion, depending on the nature of the claim and the claimant’s conviction.
On the other hand, under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA), if you spent a previous conviction, you are no longer legally obliged to declare it when you make a criminal injury compensation claim.
If you receive a conviction after making a criminal injury claim, you must notify CICA within 56 days of the sentencing date, as this could affect your settlement. Regardless of your circumstances, it is always better to contact a professional solicitor who can give you specific advice on how to act.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a claim and answer any questions you may have.
Who pays the compensation in a criminal injury claim?
In a regular personal injury claim, you will claim compensation from the insurance company of the individual, business or organisation responsible for your accident. In criminal injury claims, the defendant is often either unidentified or uninsured.
This means you will not be able to make a claim against them in a civil court. The government established the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) to ensure that every blameless victim gets the compensation they deserve.
The CICA scheme is the last resort when all other methods of receiving compensation have been exhausted. It is an alternative to a civil claim to prevent victims from being left in a challenging financial situation through no fault of their own.
The CICA is an independent authority funded by the Ministry of Justice, using taxpayers’ money. Anyone who suffered an injury in a violent crime can benefit from the CICA scheme without feeling guilty about making a claim.
There is a set tariff for each injury, starting at £1,000 for minor injuries such as damage to a front tooth. The maximum of any awards paid to a victim cannot exceed £500,000.
If the defender is identified, charged, and they can afford to pay you compensation, you can make an ordinary personal injury claim against them. If you were assaulted at the workplace due to your employer’s negligence, you could make a claim against them instead of a CICA claim.
To find out more about your criminal injury compensation options, call 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with a legal adviser.