The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is an independent government funded body that awards compensation to the innocent victims of violent crime. The CICA distributes over £200,000,000 ever year to qualifying applicants. When the CICA receives an application from a criminal injury solicitor they reference the documentation and start investigations which may involve speaking to the police, physicians and any other relevant parties. These investigations are carried out prior to asking the claimant to update their medical and financial position. The CICA thereafter makes a decision to make an award or to reject the claim. The most common reasons for a rejected claim are failing to cooperate with the police investigation and unacceptable behaviour on the part of the victim before, during or after the incident.
CICA Tariff Scheme
The amount of the award in a criminal injury claim is determined by considering the main injury and comparing it with similar injuries in a tariff guide which can be obtained from the CICA. The guide is divided into different categories ranging from minor injuries valued at £1,000 which is the minimum amount of an award ranging up to £250,000 which is the maximum amount of an award. Thereafter any other less severe injuries are also considered and a predetermined discount is applied to the 'value' of these lesser injuries before all of the figures are added together to determine a final award for the injury. Any financial losses are then considered as a separate calculation before both figures are aggregated and a final award is made.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeal Panel
If a claimant is not satisfied with the CICA's decision, a criminal injury solicitor can take advantage of the appeals process that is in place. The first step is to have the case reviewed by a senior case officer. The forms needed to instigate this action are included with the advisement letter from the CICA. If the claimant is dissatisfied with the decision of the senior case officer they can thereafter make apply to the to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeal Panel (CICAP) which is an independent review body whose decisions are binding on the CICA.
In order to be eligible for compensation from the CICA, the following requirements must be met :-
- a physical or mental injury was incurred as a result of a violent crime
- the incident which resulted in the injury occurred in England, Wales or Scotland
- the incident was reported to the police within a reasonable amount of time
- the injury required at least two visits to a physician
- the recovery process lasted at least 6 weeks
- application made to the CICA within two years of the date of the incident
If certain factors are present, the award may be reduced or refused altogether :-
- the incident was not reported to the police within a reasonable amount of time
- the victim refused to cooperate during the police investigation or prosecution
- the victim failed to cooperate with the CICA
- the victim ‘unspent’ convictions making publically funded compensation inappropriate
- the victim engaged in unacceptable or inappropriate behaviour before, during or after the incident including :-
- the victim voluntarily agreed to engage in a fight
- the injury was the result of the victim attempting to take revenge
- the victim struck the first blow
- the victim provoked the attack through abusive language or gestures
- drugs or alcohol contributed to the attack and/or injury in any way
- the victim engaged in any behaviour that caused or contributed to the attack
The most tragic cases are those where the victim ultimately dies as the result of the violent attack. In this situation, there are certain classes of individuals who are eligible to claim fatal injury compensation through the CICA. The groups of eligible people are outlined in the 2001 amendments to the CICA scheme and include parents, spouses and children. If there is only one claimant, then that individual receives a fixed bereavement award. When there are multiple claimants, each individual receives a reduced fixed sum. Also, the individual who covered the costs of the funeral may be compensated by the CICA for reasonable expenses. In addition compensation can also be claimed for dependants at the discretion of the CICA.
Victims of sexual offences may be eligible for compensation through the CICA provided that the award does not benefit the attacker, which means that payment may be denied if the victim and the attacker live together as members of the same family. Because of the relative complexity of these cases, victims of sexual offences in particular are advised to seek the assistance of a solicitor in bringing their CICA claim.
Criminal Injury Solicitors
Umbrella Claims is a specialist organisation that deals exclusively with personal injury compensation claims on a no win no fee basis. If our criminal injury solicitors fail to obtain compensation on your behalf we will not charge you anything at all. The CICA does not pay legal costs and should we be successful in claiming damages on your behalf we will charge you a pre-arranged percentage of the amount of the award as a legal fee. If we appeal your case to the independent appeals body we will make no further charge to you. We will minimalise any inconvenience to you and we offer free advice without obligation from some of the best lawyers in the business. We ensure that our client’s interests are a priority and our lawyers deal with claims in a friendly, efficient and competent manner to ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve in the shortest time scale possible.
Our criminal injury solicitors operate the no win no fee scheme otherwise known as a conditional fee agreement. No legal charge is payable unless the legal case is won and the client obtains an award of compensation. In the event that the legal claim is lost there is no charge made to the client.