A widely asked question by people undergoing a Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) claim is whether or not they should accept the first offer that they receive.
There are several misconceptions about how the CICA operates, and one them is how they choose to make their awards for compensation. Unlike insurance companies in a personal injury claim, the CICA uses a tariff of injuries which has set values. If the CICA assigns a tariff category to an injury, the value of that category cannot increase.
The only way in which an injury can receive a higher value is if the CICA believes there is sufficient evidence to push the injury into a higher category than the one that they previously allocated.
The best way to explain this is through common examples:
If you were to undergo a claim for a fractured jawbone, the CICA is able to make four different levels of awards. Using medical evidence, they will first assess whether or not an operation has taken place. If it has, the CICA can either make an award of £1,800 (the most common award in this instance as this is when an applicant makes a substantial recovery) or they can make an award of £6,200 (a rarer award where an applicant will continue to suffer from a significant disability following the incident).
These awards cannot be increased or decreased for any other reason than the recovery an applicant has made from their injury. If a substantial recovery was made, applying for a review will be fruitless as the CICA will stick by its original offer and cannot make any adjustments.
Unlike a fractured jawbone, a psychological injury is assessed using a timescale on the tariff. It must be confirmed by the diagnosis of a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist and that diagnosis will contain a length of time that they believe the injury will endure for.
Some of the categories are, again, non-negotiable (e.g. an injury lasting between 28 weeks and 2 years is worth £2,400; an injury lasting between 2 and 5 years is worth £6,200). However, there is a common dispute with two of the higher tiers of psychological injury awards.
As you can see, the difference in value of the two tiers is substantial and so applicants may feel inclined to apply for a review of the decision. The possibilities of success widely depend on whether a medical professional will provide evidence to confirm for certain that the injury will be permanent.
In previous experiences, saying that the injury will last for a long but undefined period of time is not sufficient, it needs to be explicitly shown to the CICA that the injury is permanent. Then, and only then, would a review be recommendable.
Applying for a review after receiving an offer can add significant time on to your claim. Whilst the CICA may assess the review and return with requests for more info or with a decision within a month, more often than not a review can take a number of months for them to assess.
On top of this, the CICA may require an applicant to acquire extra medical evidence, which can prolong a claim even further. Unfortunately, when it comes to an application for review, trying to appeal to the CICA’s humanity by explaining the impact it has had on an applicant’s life is unlikely to make any difference whatsoever.
The other side to this, of course, is that if an applicant is successful and has the medical evidence to back their argument, applying for a review can add substantial value on to a claim. If the compensation you are dealing with is significant, it may be in your best interests to seek legal advice. Legal representation can help to assist in pushing your claim to a positive conclusion.
The process of applying for a review can be complex. Exactly what information is required to substantiate a claim can be left vague and applicants can be left in the dark about what the next steps are. At Oakwood Solicitors, our case handlers have years of experience in dealing with CICA claims and are able to identify the merits of a potential review and explain the details of what an applicant is required to do next.
For more information on what legal help would do, including the statistics of how legal representatives have been shown to increase an average payout by £3,804, please click here.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
To learn more about submitting a claim to the CICA, get in touch today for a free initial consultation. Choose one of the methods on the right-hand side of this page, or call us on 0113 200 9787 to find out how we can help you.
Meet the author
Daryl Ross Smith joined Oakwood Solicitors as a Paralegal in October 2018. Daryl finished his degree in Forensic Science at Northumbria University, before completing the GDL and the LPC LLM …
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