For victims of violent crime, the consequences can be life changing. From physical injury to emotional distress, the negative impacts are far-reaching, and the road to recovery can be difficult. Thankfully, there are sources of support you can draw on to help you move past the event. This includes claiming compensation from the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (CICA).
If you are considering making a CICA claim, you will likely want the process to be a quick and as simple as possible. It is important that making a claim does not contribute any further to your distress. For this reason, it is very helpful if you know the answer to a number of questions, including “how long does CICA take to pay out?”
In this post, we’ll talk you through the process of making a CICA claim and answer various questions you might have. Our goal is to ensure you have a clear sense of what a CICA claim involves and the outcome you can expect from making one.
What is a CICA claim?
First of all, let’s consider the basics of the CICA claims process.
CICA is a UK government agency that is responsible for administering a compensation scheme for victims of violent crime. The scheme is called the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and is funded by the government.
The compensation awarded by the scheme is intended to support victims who have suffered from physical or mental injuries as well as those who have experienced loss of earnings as a direct result of violent crime.
Further, it is important to note that you may be able to claim if a loved one was the victim of a violent crime rather than yourself. This includes if you were witness to the incident or present in the immediate aftermath and sustained a mental injury as a result.
If any of this applies to you, then you should consider making a CICA claim. Read on below to find out how to go about this, as well as how long it takes CICA to pay out.
How do I make a CICA claim?
The CICA guidance itself specifies that the scheme is “intended to be one of last resort.” What this means in practice is that you will be expected to demonstrate you have tried to obtain compensation in other ways. For instance, you should consider whether you could claim compensation directly from your assailant, or if there are relevant benefits for which you could apply. If you are currently receiving benefits, read our blog post on the affect that CICA claims can have on your benefits, and how to avoid losing out.
However, it is important that you do not wait for the outcome of your other claims before applying to CICA. That’s because there are strict timeframes for making a CICA claim. As the official guidance states, “you must apply as soon as it is reasonably practicable for you to do so.”
Unfortunately, this is a bit vague. The CICA guidance further specifies it “should not be later than two years” after the incident took place. If you do apply outside of this time frame, you will be expected to explain why your application could not have been made earlier.
Ultimately, the sooner you can begin your claim the better. This is particularly so because you will need to provide various types of evidence to support your claim.
It is important to note that any incident for which you are making a CICA claim must have been reported to the police. Additionally, you should ensure that any injury you sustained was examined by a medical professional. You will need to provide medical evidence for any injury you are claiming compensation for.
The CICA application process can be completed online on the government’s website. However, prior to completing the application, it is a very good idea to get expert advice from a solicitor. There is a great deal of evidence you need to provide, and often CICA claims can be rejected on a technicality, potentially causing further distress.
How is my claim assessed?
Your CICA claim will be assessed by considering various things, including the evidence you gave to police, any criminal records, and medical evidence. Evidence about your salary may be considered if you are claiming for loss of earnings.
The case will be decided according to what is called a balance of probabilities. That is, it will be decided on the basis of what the claims officer deems to be more likely to have happened than not. For this reason, as we mentioned above, it’s vital that you give the claims officer all the necessary information. Failure to do so can result in your claim being denied even if it was actually legitimate.
This is yet another reason why it can be helpful to consult a solicitor. While it is not necessary to have legal representation to make a CICA claim, a solicitor with experience in the area can make sure you follow all the guidelines of the claims process and present all the necessary evidence in the clearest way.
How long does CICA take to pay out?
When it comes to the question “how long does CICA take to pay out?”, this obviously depends on the processing of your claim.
There is unfortunately no set timeframe for a claims officer to decide the outcome of your CICA claim. As the CICA website notes: “The length of time needed to assess your claim will vary depending on how complicated it is.”
In terms of actually receiving payment, it can be around 12 months from your initial claim before you receive the compensation you are owed.
This is assuming, of course, that your claim is successful. If your claim is turned down, you can appeal the decision. You can also appeal if you think that the amount of compensation you have been offered is too low – see our blog on whether you should accept the first CICA offer to find out more.
While you should certainly appeal if you feel the rejection was unfair, or the amount you were offered was too low, this can add a substantial delay.
Again, having a solicitor support you through the claims process can help avoid this outcome. A solicitor will be able to help make sure your claim is presented carefully and help to prevent it being dismissed unfairly. They will ensure you provide all the necessary information and meet the deadlines set out by CICA.
HNK can support your CICA claim
The answer to the question “how long does CICA take to pay out?” may have been a little longer than you had hoped. If you have suffered an injury as a result of a violent crime, you will no doubt want some resolution as soon as possible to enable you to move on.
The best way to ensure your claim is processed as quickly as possible, and that you avoid the unfortunate situation of having to appeal the outcome, is to get in touch with our experienced team at HNK. We have supported many clients through the CICA claims process and helped them to get the compensation that they deserve.
We offer free consultations to discuss your specific case and provide you with advice on how best to proceed. If we think you have a viable CICA claim, we can take up the process on your behalf on a no-win, no-fee basis.
So, if you have been injured as the result of a violent crime, get in touch with us today. You can simply 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.