If you have been the victim of a violent crime, you are entitled to make a compensation claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). CICA administers the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, which is funded by the government. The scheme is intended to support those who have suffered injuries as a result of violent crime. You can read our Criminal Injuries Compensation page to find out more information on the scheme.
While the compensation that CICA provides can be invaluable, sometimes it falls short of what is expected. If you are considering making a CICA claim, there are a number of questions you should ask yourself in advance: How much compensation could I receive? Should I accept the first offer? How do I make an appeal?
At HNK, we are experts at supporting our clients with their CICA claims. Read this post to find out more about the claims process, and in particular how to approach the initial compensation offer.
How do I make a CICA claim?
The first thing to be aware of when making a CICA claim is that the scheme is considered a last resort.
That is to say, CICA will expect you to have pursued other forms of compensation alongside your claim. For instance, they may ask for evidence you have sought compensation from your assailant, or at least investigated if this would be possible. They may also ask whether you have claimed all the relevant benefits you are entitled to, or if you have sought damages from your employer.
However – and this cannot be stressed enough – you should not wait to make your CICA claim. According to CICA’s own guidelines, “you must apply as soon as it is reasonably practicable for you to do so.” You can apply for up to two years after the incident. If it’s any later, you’ll have to provide evidence to justify the delay. You can make a CICA claim even while you’re waiting for the outcome of other claims.
Further, the incident must have been reported to the police. Again, this must be done “as soon as is reasonably practicable.”
The actual application process can be completed online through the government’s website. They will ask you to provide a range of information. This includes:
- The date and location of the crime
- The name of the police station where the crime was reported
- Your GP’s name and address
- Details of any unspent criminal convictions
As you can see, there’s a lot of information you need to have to hand. However, you don’t need to complete the claim all at once. You can pause your application and return later if you need to.
The advantages of having a solicitor
You do not need paid legal representation to make a CICA claim. However, there are number of reasons you should consider contacting a solicitor.
The first thing to stress is that – as you may have already sensed from the above – CICA applications have some quite strict conditions. Often, cases are rejected on a technicality. For instance, if you haven’t pursued all other avenues of compensation, your claim can be rejected. But that can be easier said than done, and it’s easy to overlook something.
Further, there are specific deadlines that CICA will expect you to adhere to. If you fail to do so, your claim can be rejected, even if it would otherwise be valid. Of course, you can appeal the decision, but this will add time to an already lengthy process.
With expert legal advice, you can make sure your claim is properly prepared. Here at HNK, for example, our team have in-depth knowledge of all the relevant regulations. We can make sure that you have the best possible chance of receiving the compensation you’re owed.
Should I accept the first offer from CICA?
There are other advantages of having a solicitor support your claim. Expert legal advice can be very important when it comes to that vital question: should I accept the first offer from CICA?
If you are offered compensation thanks to your CICA claim, you may be happy about the positive outcome. You may find yourself bypassing the question “should I accept the first CICA offer?” and simply accepting the amount.
But you should consider carefully whether the amount you’ve been offered is sufficient. It may not cover the costs you incurred as a result of your injuries. You may feel that your specific situation was not taken into account.
In order to understand whether the first offer is acceptable, you need to understand how CICA decides on the amount of compensation.
The key point is that CICA has a set of tariffs they use to assign a set amount for a given claim. These tariffs are set by the government and are not subject to negotiation or variation. For instance, a specific type of injury to a specific body part will be assigned a set compensation amount.
However, there can be issues arising from this. For instance, your injuries may be miscategorised. This is particularly problematic when it comes to what CICA terms “mental injuries”, which can be difficult to diagnose.
CICA decisions can be appealed. However, this can prolong the claims process substantially. It’s important to know if it is worth it. Whether or not you should accept the first offer should be based on a detailed understanding of the CICA tariffs. It is important that you assess whether your claim has been judged fairly.
Needless to say, this is extremely difficult without expert help.
HNK are here to help
If you have sustained an injury as the result of a violent crime, it is vital you receive all the compensation you’re entitled to. Though this cannot undo your suffering, nor will it mitigate all of the ongoing effects, it can be a vital part of moving on from the incident.
However, you may understandably want to avoid further stress. A CICA application can be a demanding process. There is a lot to process and understand, and a lot of information to gather.
Having legal representation from experienced solicitors can make the process substantially easier.
Here at HNK, our expert team offer free consultations. If we think you have a claim, we can take it up on your behalf on a no-win, no-fee basis.
We will pursue the claims process on your behalf, taking the pressure off you and ensuring the claim is processed in a timely way. And if you are offered a settlement and find yourself asking “should I accept the first CICA offer?”, we can offer you in-depth guidance and support.
So, if you have been the victim of a violent crime that resulted in you sustaining an injury of any kind, get in touch with HNK Solicitors today. You can fill out the form on our website to request a call back. Alternatively, call us on 0151 203 1104 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.