The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA for short), established in 1966, is an executive agency of the UK Government that has been set up to provide compensation to innocent victims of violent crimes.
If you have been the victim of an assault you may be entitled to make a claim to the CICA
The procedure for applying for compensation can sometimes be complex. If you are considering making a claim you need to be aware of:
- The time that you have to make a claim – You only have two years to make a claim from the date of the assault.
- Reporting the incident to the police – You must make every effort to report the incident to the police as soon as you can and obtain a crime reference number. If you do not, this may result in your claim being disallowed.
- Your conduct before or after the assault – If your behaviour provoked the assault an award for compensation could be reduced or withheld. Your criminal record will also be taken into account as well as the manner in which you co-operate with the police. The CICA will also take account of any convictions received after the incident or after applying, right through to the date when the case is finally settled.
- Loss of earnings – If you continue to suffer loss of earnings as a result of your injury you may be able to claim for this loss. Compensation for loss of earnings will not be paid for the first 28 weeks. Loss of earnings will be calculated based upon the fixed rate of statutory sick pay in force at the date of deciding your claim.
- Amount of compensation – There is a limit to the amount of compensation you can recover. The maximum award for very serious injuries is £500,000.00
Unfortunately the CICA will not pay your legal costs. If you have legal expenses insurance which covers a CICA claim you may be able to utilise the indemnity provided by the insurer. If you do not have legal expense insurance we may be able to offer you a conditional fee agreement which would essentially mean that you would not pay us if your claim was unsuccessful but if you succeed in having an award of damages paid to you, you would pay our basic charges although these would be limited to 25% of your compensation plus VAT and any disbursements, meaning that you retain the majority of the compensation awarded.
You may be able to pursue a civil claim in respect of injuries sustained as a result of an assault; however pursuing such a claim would only be deemed sensible if it was known that the assailant had the means to satisfy a judgment again him/her (i.e. if they had the financial means to pay compensation). If this is not an option, a claim to the CICA may be the only method in which to secure compensation for your injuries.
Please note that the CICA calculates compensation entirely differently to civil claim and you should be aware that the amount of compensation which you will be paid, if you are deemed eligible, will be significantly lower than if you were able to pursue a civil claim.
Compensation for your injuries is assessed on a tariff and the level of award depends on the category of injury that you have. The CICA obtains the evidence they consider necessary to assess the claim; however, they often need prompting in terms of gathering the appropriate expert evidence, particularly in cases involving complex catastrophic injuries, such as brain and spinal cord injuries. Even when such evidence has been obtained (which can take a significant period of time in terms of convincing the CICA that it is necessary), the evidence is often what Hugh James’ legal specialist experts would regard as the bare minimum, as such evidence often needs further consideration particularly in respect of the issues of future care. In turn, this can impact upon the level of award the CICA makes and then often results in Hugh James’ legal specialists advising clients to review and appeal the decisions which are then considered by an independent tribunal panel. Given the amount of work and the way in which the CICA operate, pursing a CICA claim can often take a number of years from start to conclusion.