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What is a Criminal Injuries Compensation Claim?

Criminal Injuries Compensation Claims

If you are a UK resident and a victim of a criminal injury, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation from the UK Government through a Criminal Injury Compensation Claim. Since 1964, the Ministry of Justice has paid out over £3 billion to victims of criminal acts. The scheme is currently governed by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), which distributes money to any blameless victim of a crime of violence.

Qualification Criteria

Simply put, a successful claimant must have suffered an injury as a direct result of a crime of violence. Whilst there is no statutory definition of a ‘crime of violence’, CICA have developed a list of offences which qualify a victim for criminal injuries compensation. These include most of the acts of violence punished by the criminal justice system, although very minor crimes may not be considered sufficiently serious. Whatever the crime, the victim must be blameless, which is to say that they must not be connected with the crime, nor can they have contributed to its commission. For example, a person injured in a brawl is unlikely to gain compensation from CICA. Those who do fall into the category of ‘blameless victim’, however, are likely to be able to claim even if the perpetrator cannot be found or is not convicted during a criminal trial. This is due to the fact that the burden of proof required by CICA is not as high as that which operates in the criminal courts.

Types of Damage

Whilst the most common criminal injury compensation claims are for various kinds of physical injury, it is also possible to make a claim for the psychological impact of a crime, as long as a medically recognised illness has been caused. In the event of a crime causing death, it is also possible for the dependents of the deceased to apply for compensation from CICA. In any event, however, the claim must be made within 2 years of the injury being caused, or no money will be received. In most instances, CICA will only award an amount of money designed to compensate the victim for the actual injury suffered. If, however, the claimant can prove that further losses have flowed directly from the injury, it is sometimes possible to claim for these. The most common example is loss of earnings as a result of injury, which must have amounted to at least 28 weeks of loss for a claim to be made.

Amount Of Compensation

The amount of general compensation awarded by CICA, excluding any special awards for loss of earnings, is set by Parliament in a regularly updated schedule. This schedule contains guideline amounts for hundreds of injuries, ranging from awards of £1,000 to £250,000. For those suffering a head injury, for example, CICA is empowered to award anything from £1,500 (for a short-term concussion or similar) to £250,000 (for very serious brain damage). The specific guideline into which your injury falls will be determined by CICA, and will be a result of the documentation they will gather from anyone who has treated you, and your own evidence. The maximum amount of any total award is £500,000.

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