A background of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)
Since the original scheme’s inauguration in 1964, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) and the CICA’s predecessor, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, have paid more than £3 billion in compensation.
In 1996, a statutory scheme was introduced under the provisions of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 1995. The CICA was designed to compensate blameless victims of violent crimes, including physical and sexual assaults. The Scheme has been revised in 2001, 2008 and 2012 and compensates for over 300 different injuries ranging in levels of compensation between £1,000 and £250,000.
Would I be eligible for a CICA claim?
An individual may be eligible for an award under the CICA’s Scheme if they sustain a criminal injury which is directly attributable to them being a direct victim of a crime of violence committed in a relevant place.
What is a ‘Crime of Violence’?
The CICA defines a ‘Crime of Violence’ as a crime which, by intention or recklessness, involves any of the following:
What is a ‘Relevant Place’?
A relevant place means Great Britain however there are also some further niche areas that fall under the CICA’s definition. These include a British-controlled aircraft, a British-controlled hovercraft and a lighthouse off the coast of Great Britain.
Can my conduct or previous convictions affect my eligibility?
The CICA have the power to apply reductions or even outright reject an application if, before, during or after the incident giving rise to a criminal injury, the applicant’s conduct makes it inappropriate to make an award or full award.
In some circumstances, the CICA may reduce or even withhold an award of compensation where an applicant has previous criminal convictions. This is largely dependent on whether a conviction is “spent” or “unspent”. Simply put, each conviction has a period in which it remains relevant in law until it has elapsed. This time differs depending on the severity of offence.
Some offences, while unspent, will completely restrict the CICA’s ability to make an award of compensation to an individual. Some examples of these are as follows:
As a general rule, the crime must have taken place within the last two years to put in an application to the CICA. There can be exceptions to this rule if, due to exceptional circumstances, the applicant could not have applied earlier.
If an applicant was a child under the age of 18 on the date of the incident, they have until they turn 20 years old to submit a claim.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the police have been known to tell an individual not to put in a claim to the CICA until after a criminal investigation has concluded however this can put you in severe danger of missing the pre-imposed deadlines that have been set.
Are there any other conditions I should be aware of?
How much is my claim worth?
The CICA calculate their awards for compensation using a tariff that contains provisions for both physical and psychological injuries.
The CICA pays out on up to three injuries if each is so serious that they would qualify for individual awards. They calculate them as follows:
There are also additional payments for losses that may be claimed, 3 of which (with examples) are shown below:
How does the CICA assess injuries based on the tariff?
As explained above, the CICA introduced a statutory Scheme in 1996 that has undergone multiple amendments over the past two decades. The current Scheme (the 2012 edition), contains a tariff of injuries that provides for multiple common injuries ranging in severity and value.
Examples of common awards might be: –
Loss of earnings
If your injury has caused you to miss a significant amount of work, then you may be able to claim for loss of earnings. If you have missed work for over a 28-week period, there is the option of adding a claim for lost earnings to your CICA application. You will be paid from the 29th week onwards that you have missed work and payments will be made via statutory sick pay rates. Supporting evidence must be provided from your doctor or employer to demonstrate that you were unfit for work for the length of time mentioned above.
Special expenses, such as medical expenses and alterations to your household, that have arisen as a result of your injury may also be claimed for. These expenses must be reasonable and will not be available if you received them for free e.g. through the NHS.
Bereavement payments and fatal cases
In the unfortunate event that someone passes away as a result of a criminal injury, there are provisions available for a qualifying relative of the deceased to utilise.
Some examples of a qualifying relative are a person, who at the time of the deceased’s death was:
There is a standard bereavement payment of £11,000 however if there is more than one person who satisfies these criteria, the bereavement payment is £5,500 each.
There is also the potential to add dependency payments, child payments and a contribution to any funeral payments made to an applicant’s CICA claim.
How long does it take for a CICA claim to conclude?
The CICA advise that an application with them takes on average between 12 to 18 months to resolve. It is important to note that this is a guideline and not guaranteed. The time it takes for the CICA to come to a decision on a claim depends on a number of factors including severity of injury, the complexity of a claim and the co-operation shown by an applicant.
Sexual violence Fast-Track option
We want to make applying for the compensation you deserve as easy as possible for you.
When applying for compensation for crimes of sexual violence, the CICA presents a service which allows them to settle your claim quickly and with the least intrusion as possible. By utilising the tariff of injuries, they can use fixed payments based on the nature of the assault. This will not take any psychological damage or additional physical injuries into account.
If this service is chosen, the CICA will:
The CICA advises that they can complete all the steps in this process in around 8 weeks.
What if my claim is initially rejected by the CICA?
There is no need to panic. The CICA has a review process to allow you to challenge their decision. A legal representative can make this as easy as possible, guiding you on the reasons to apply for a review and the steps to take to further evidence your claim.
If you disagree with the review decision you are then able to take this one step further and appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal. The members of the First-Tier Tribunal are completely independent to the CICA and will consider the entire claim, noting both your side and that of the CICA.
Why would I need a solicitor?
A CICA claim can also be deceptively complex. While it may seem fairly straight forward upon first glance, the requests can be confusing, and the information required can be difficult to get a hold of. Having an experienced representative available whenever you need to talk to them, guiding you through the process, can be an utter godsend. It is important to identify that no matter is too trivial and sometimes, a simple chat about what you are currently going through can make the world of difference.
Having a legal representative has also been shown to improve the likelihood of a CICA case succeeding. The most recent statistics published by the government illustrate that more people decide to undergo this type of claim on their own, than with a legal representative. Unfortunately for those people without representation, they are more likely to end up with their claims rejected in comparison to those who seek legal help.
This could be attributed to numerous things such as lack of understanding of the claims process, the required criteria that needs to be met and failure to meet set deadlines, all of which can be assisted by having a legal representative.
Of those applicants who did not have any legal help with their claim and received compensation between 2017 and 2018, the average pay-out was £6,934. Those applicants who received compensation with the help of a solicitor, received on average an additional £3,804, with a total average payout of £10,738.
Why choose Oakwood Solicitors?
Here at Oakwood Solicitors, we agree to work on your CICA claim on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. If your claim is unsuccessful, you will not be expected to pay us a penny. If you are successful in your claim, we take a percentage of the compensation meaning that the only time we will receive money is if we have brought your claim to a fruitful conclusion.
You will have a dedicated advisor who will see your claim through from start to finish, assisting you in the event of any queries or issues you may have. If it is preferable to you, we are able to assign you one of our female advisors to carry out your claim. Your case handler will also continue to provide regular updates until the conclusion of your claim, ensuring the process is as stress-free and effortless as possible.
We recently had a client who had been through a traumatic experience. She was entitled to compensation as a result of this. However, due to the strict guidelines that are enforced by the CICA, she looked set to miss out on this – the claim was ready to be rejected.
After one of our advisors spoke to the CICA, explained the situation and directed them as to the severe difficulties our client was having in obtaining the information that they had requested, they passed the claim through to their decision-making team and made an assessment based on the information they already possessed.
This resulted in our client receiving £16,500 in compensation when, if she had not had a legal representative, her application would have been rejected and she would have been left with nothing.
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Here at Oakwood Solicitors, we’re not your average law firm – our team delivers a service which caters to you. From assessing your case through to completion, our staff have not only the knowledge and expertise, but also the compassion and understanding to put you at ease throughout the process.