If you have been the victim of an act of crime or violence, you may be able to claim compensation. The offender does not have to have been caught and prosecuted for you to make a claim for compensation, you are usually entitled to compensation if: If the crime took place within the last 2 years. However, cases of abuse may be considered over this time period. You have been injured physically, mentally or psychologically as a consequence of a violent crime. If a member of you immediate family has died as a result of a violent crime, for instance your partner, parent, wife or child. If you were a witness to a violent crime and later suffered psychological injury and had to receive counselling. Physical and/or psychological injuries are graded according to their severity. Relatively minor injuries, such as scratches, cuts and bruises will not qualify for an award.
However, if a criminal injury victim has suffered a combination of minor injuries resulting in numerous visits to see their GP or a medical establishment, received treatment and the injury has lasted more than six week, they may be entitled to claim compensation. Every case is different. In England Scotland and Wales, the minimum amount of compensation you could expect to receive would be £1,000, moderate to severe injuries can be up to £500,000 compensation, dependant on the severity of the injury/injuries sustained.
Other Types of Compensation.
If for instance you property has been damaged as the result of a crime or theft, you may be able to claim compensation. If the person that committed the crime is caught and found guilty, the court can order them to pay you compensation. In regards to making a claim for any type of criminal injury, you will have needed to have contacted the police within 24-48 hours of the incident having taken place. You will not be eligible to make a claim for criminal injuries compensation if the crime has not been reported to the police.
Victims who have reported the incident to the police can apply. The police will pass the information to the Crown Prosecution Service who will make the court aware of your claim when the case is heard. The type of loss you can be compensated can include:
- Out of pocket expenses (financial loss, loss of earnings due to time off work because of the crime).
- Loss via fraud
- Loss through damage or theft of property
- Injury from a stolen vehicle
How to make a criminal injury claim
In England, Scotland and Wales there are many personal injury solicitors that also specialise in criminal injury compensation. You have two options;
Contact a recommended or reputable personal injury solicitors. They will take care of all the legal jargon and fight for the justice that you deserve. Most solicitors charge a small percentage fee if the claim is settled, usually between 20-25% – a small price to pay for the expertise and knowledge of a reputable criminal injury solicitor who can recover the maximum compensation that you are entitled to by law.
Another alternative would be to apply direct with the CICA (Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority). You can download the form from their website: www.cica.gov.uk or call them on 0141 331 2726. Your application will be processed usually within 12 months. If you accept the compensation that is offered to you, this will be paid out to you within 28 days.
It is highly recommended that you sought the legal advice and guidance of a criminal injury solicitor. A reputable, successful firm will usually recover the compensation for you as quickly as possible to make sure that you make a healthy recover from you injuries both physically and financially. Many solicitors offer free advice with no obligation to make a claim. It would be worth you while to consider this initial course of action in the first instance and it won’t cost you a penny.