Application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) for an award by a criminal injury compensation claim solicitor may be rejected or reduced by the CICA when the following considerations are considered
• The applicant’s unspent criminal conviction
• The victim’s behavior during the entire process, that is before the incident, during and after the occurrence
In order to qualify for an award, a victim’s injuries must have lasted six weeks or more and required medical attention on at least two occasions. In the event that a victim is dissatisfied with the compensation amount awarded by CICA, your solicitor will be present to advise and set an appeal. However, it worthy to note that compensation has a minimum value of £1,000 and will not go over the set cap of £250,000. All criminal convictions and have a tariff whereby some expire in a short period and other more serious offences never expire. This time period depends on the sentence imposed by the court following the offense.
The right of Appeal – CICAP
A claimant has the right to appeal the CICA’s decision to reject or reduce the award only if it is based on behaviour. In this case, the matter is taken to a more senior claims officer within the CICA for reconsideration. Further, the claimant can appeal the subsequently proposed award to the Independent Criminal Injury Compensation Appeal Tribunal (CICAP).
The Injury Compensation Tariff Scheme
The injury compensation tariff scheme is a printed tariff that informs the decision to award financial compensation by allocating a figure for each and every potential injury. The tariff band ranges between £1,000 to £250,000 and all potential injuries are assigned a value therein.
The CICA administers this compensation scheme throughout Great Britain. Its main role is to offer financial compensation to victims of violent crime for personal injury, mental trauma, and consequent financial loss.
For cases involving multiple injuries, CICA will only consider the three most serious injuries. Of these three, the lesser injuries suffered are discounted by a set rate then all three amounts are summed up to establish the total award. An example of this is as follows:
• 100% of tariff scale value paid for the most critical injury
• 30% of tariff scale value for the next most serious injury
• 15% of tariff scale value of the least of the three injuries suffered
In addition to pain and suffering, the criminal injury compensation claim solicitor can also make a claim for other losses. For instance, if the injuries sustained have incapacitated the applicant for more than 28 weeks, the claimant is entitled to claim for medical care and expenses as well as loss of earnings upon expiry of the first 28 week period. The maximum award for this potential claim is £250,000.
Applications for compensation must be made within two years from the date of the incident. CICA can at its own discretion, extend the time limit depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident. This should not deter you from seeking advice from solicitors as many applications have been allowed even after exceeding the time bar. There are certain extended time limits particularly in cases involving children especially child sex abuse matters.
The Claims Process
The claim process starts with an initial application on a pre-printed form that is sent to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority in Glasgow within the stipulated time frame of two years. This application is acknowledged and referenced by the CICA who then obtain a police report of the incident and medical evidence. The CICA then requires the applicant to complete a questionnaire and uses this questionnaire together with all other information to decide whether the application will be considered for an award or not. It also determines the amount of the award. The applicant can choose to accept the award or refuse it and may request an interview or appeal to an independent tribunal. The entire process takes less than one year to complete.
Legal Costs – No Win No Fee
Most solicitors operate using a conditional fee agreement (no win no fee) which essentially means that no legal fees are payable by the claimant unless the case is won. If the claim is lost, then the client does not pay anything. Successful applications that result in financial awards to the claimants will either pay a fixed fee or a pre-arranged percentage of the final award. The effect of a no win no fee arrangeme4nt is to pass all financial risk over to the solicitor who will carry out a detailed risk assessment prior to agreeing to submit the claim on your behalf. This ensures that you have a reasonable chance of success because potential failure is weeded out at an early stage.
Most criminal injury solicitors handle CICA claims using the “no win no fee” principle. Before commencement of the claim process, the terms of the no win no fee principle will be explained to you fully both in writing and verbally. No legal fees are payable if your claim is rejected by the CICA. Similarly, you are not usually required to finance your case as it goes forward and you do not have to pay for any medical reports. Lastly, should you, at an early stage, decide not to proceed with a claim, after liaising with a criminal injury solicitor, you will not be obligated to do so, and no legal fees are payable. Most solicitors offer a free initial interview to select those claimants who have a better than evens chance of succeeding in a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
What lawyers do
• Review potential claims and offer comprehensive legal advice
• Provide a pool of specialist solicitors to handle claims
• Use the ‘no win no fee’ principle
• In special circumstances help you claim lost salary
• Offer advice on the value of your injury claim
• Advise on CICA reviews and appeals
• Pursue maximum compensation on your behalf
What you should do
• Get in touch with a criminal injury solicitor to discuss potential claims. An experienced solicitor will help you through the entire process.