Criminal Injury Solicitors
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) has designed the process it oversees in such a way that legal professionals are not strictly required. Nevertheless, many claimants decide to retain the services of a firm of criminal injury solicitors for their peace of mind when seeking compensation.
Why Seek Representation?
If your claim is straightforward and you are confident when dealing with professional matters, you may well have no need of legal representation whilst going through the CICA claim process. The appropriate guidance is published online, and the application form is designed to be completed by a claimant acting for themselves. Nevertheless, a legal professional will be able to conduct the process significantly faster than a ‘litigant in person’, and will be able to spot any potential issues before they become a problem. For example, many claimants complete the entire application form only to be denied because they were not aware of the two year limitation period which applies to CICA claims. If your claim is complex, or if it is initially turned down by CICA, you will also be well advised to seek professional representation. Appeals from CICA go to a first-tier tribunal to be heard. Whilst you are not required to have legal representation there, the issues at stake are likely to be difficult for a layperson to argue effectively.
How Much Will I Have To Pay?
Any firm of criminal injury solicitors should offer an initial consultation on your claim, free of charge. If they think that you have a reasonable prospect of success, they will offer to take on your case, and should do so on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. Given the range of firms you will have to choose from, you should not accept any other agreement. Unfortunately, since the CICA process forces successful claimants to pay their own costs, you will need to spend some of your compensation on legal fees. Most firms will ask for a fixed amount of money regardless of the work done on the case, and you should try to make sure that this is negotiated as a percentage of your total compensation, rather than a specific amount. This is a less risky approach and allows you to know exactly how much of your compensation you will retain in the end.
How Can I Find An Expert Solicitor?
Of course, as well as knowing that your solicitor will manage your case for a reasonable fee, you will also want to be assured of their expertise. You can do this by searching the Law Society‘s register of accredited personal injury solicitors, and only taking on a firm which can boast at least one lawyer on the list. You are also well within your rights to ask who will be managing your case, and to ensure that the firm has dealt with a number of CICA claims successfully in the past. As long as you perform your due diligence, you should have no trouble finding an expert professional to handle your claim.
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