In the UK, offences involving firearms only make up a small percentage of overall recorded crime by the police. Just 0.2% of all police recorded offences (excluding fraud) involved firearms in the year ending March 2018. This has seen a decrease of 0.2% since the year ending March 2008, 10 years ago.
However, despite a significant fall since 2006, there has been a notable rise in non-air firearm offences since 2014. In the year ending March 2018, 6,521 non-air firearm offences were recorded by the police in comparison to 4,856 in the year ending March 2014 – an increase in 2018 of over 34%.
Between the year ending March 2014 and the year ending March 2018, 7,644 people were injured or killed by a firearm in England and Wales. 18% of these people sustained a serious or fatal injury as a result.
Firearm crime is often associated with inner-city gangs, but incidents involving firearms can happen anywhere, involving a number of different types of firearm. Gunshot wounds can result in a whole host of long-term injuries from scarring to serious psychological injuries, the most severe of cases of course, will result in death.
“If I, or a loved one, have been the victim of a firearm crime, can I claim for compensation?”
If you, or a loved one, have been the victim of firearm crime, you may be entitled to compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The CICA assess applications on a case by case basis and via their own tariff of injuries.
Whilst it does not specifically cater for gunshot wounds, it will compensate for the repercussions of incident and any after effects felt by the victim.
“If the CICA will not compensate me for my gunshot wound, what will they compensate me for?”
While the CICA’s tariff does not include gunshot wounds caused by a firearm, it does compensate for some of the most common consequential injuries. The CICA may compensate for the scarring caused by a gunshot, dependant on the severity and location of the scar.
The CICA will also look to compensate a victim for internal damage caused by a firearm, these injuries include, but are not limited to, damage to the lungs, kidneys, brain, tendons and nerves. Compensation is also available for any psychological damage caused as a result.
“Will I be eligible to claim to the CICA after being the victim of a firearm crime?”
If you have been the victim of a firearm crime, then you will have satisfied the first CICA eligibility branch of suffering a ‘crime of violence’. Usually, the crime involving a firearm must have taken place in the past 2 years, although there are exceptions to this rule which are dependent on a number of factors (such as the age of the victim when the incident took place), and the incident involving a firearm must have been reported to the police as soon as reasonably practicable.
For further details on eligibility, please see our in-depth guide on CICA claims.
“How long does a CICA claim take to complete?”
The CICA advises that they aim to take 12-18 months, from submission of an application, to come to an initial decision. While it attempts to stick to this guideline, the length of a claim can fluctuate. Some claims can conclude quicker than 12 months and some can take longer than 18.
A number of factors come into play in the time it takes the CICA to initially decide on a claim, such as the severity of injury, the complexity of a claim or the event of an ongoing investigation (the CICA requires a comprehensive police report which can only be obtained after a police investigation has been finalised).
“What will I be required to do in a CICA claim?”
The CICA require full co-operation from a client throughout the claim, in the absence of this, they have the power to reject a claim on this basis. The CICA will request information regarding your injuries so that they can formulate a potential value. This may be in the form of a questionnaire for a client to complete, a request for a medical report and/or medical records from a medical professional and if there is any scarring present, images of what the scarring looks like now.
To assist in clients taking images of their scarring for the CICA, we have put together this handy guide about using ‘DETAIL’ and demonstrating exactly what the CICA require in scarring photographs.
Mr. G was on his way home from work after a late shift when he was confronted by a youth wearing a mask, who had mistaken him for someone else and proceeded to accuse him of hurting one of his friends. The youth proceeded to shoot Mr. G in the leg and steal his belongings, before running off and leaving him to bleed on the street.
Luckily, the noise of the gunshot attracted a passer-by who helped Mr. G stem the bleeding and then call an ambulance for him.
As a result of the gunshot wound, Mr. G sustained severe damage to the tendons in his leg and was left with a significant limp. He also attended a number of sessions with a psychiatrist due to the substantial psychological injury he suffered following the incident. After undergoing a CICA claim with Oakwood, he received a total offer of £15,360 in compensation.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
For any legal advice about gun crime claims and 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.