The process for making a criminal injuries compensation claim is governed by the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (CICA), and is designed to be accessible to anyone who has suffered an injury as an innocent victim of crime.
Making an Application
The first step in any claim is for you to complete one of CICA’s application forms, which can be obtained online and are free to submit. You must make sure that you complete all of the details required and follow the guidance provided by CICA, or the application form will be returned to you without action being taken. It is advisable to ask a friend or trusted colleague to check the form for you, regardless of how confident you may be about its contents. Perhaps the most common mistake is to submit a form pertaining to an injury which was sustained over two years in the past. Unless there are exceptional circumstances involved, CICA will not adjudicate such claims. When you submit the form, you will be given a personal reference number by CICA, and they will begin their investigation.
Upon receiving your criminal injuries compensation claim, CICA will conduct their own investigation. This will be based on the information you have provided on the application form, and will begin with an enquiry to the police. If you have not reported the crime and injury to the police, your claim will not be successful. If the police confirm your details, CICA will then contact your GP and any hospital at which you were treated in order to confirm the medical claims you have made. If they require further information from you, or if you need to be examined by one of their independent medical experts, you will receive further correspondence using the contact details on your application form. If your claim is particularly complex, or if the details are not clear, this investigation process can take up to a year to be completed.
Compensation and Appeals
After completing their investigation, CICA will contact you with their decision. If they have rejected your claim, or reduced the amount of compensation to which you believe you are entitled, you should write to them and ask for an official review. This will be carried out within 90 days by a case officer who did not work on your initial claim. Should this review also prove unsatisfactory, you can appeal to a First Tier Tribunal, who have the power to overturn CICA’s decision. If you are considering this, however, it would be wise to take legal advice as to your prospects of success. Should you choose to accept CICA’s ruling, any compensation award should be paid to you via electronic bank transfer within 4 weeks. If compensation is awarded to a minor, then CICA are likely to hold it in an interest-bearing bank account until the child’s age of majority, and if awarded to someone who is not capable of making their own decisions, they may hold it on trust for the claimant.
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