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Damages following an assault can be substantial dependant on the degree of the trauma sustained by the victim. It is possible for criminal injury solicitors to sue an assailant privately for damages in the county court however it does take a considerable period of time and usually involves a number of visits to a solicitor's office. The simplest way of receiving compensation is to make an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) which is a body that was established to administer compensation from a government fund for victims of violent crime in the UK. Very minor injuries do not qualify for an award however if you have suffered an injury which caused you to visit a doctor at least twice and from which you did not recover for at least 6 weeks then you can make an application for compensation. Our criminal injury solicitors deal with applications to the CICA on behalf of the victims of violent crime. Our solicitors represent clients in cases of violent assault, sexual assault including rape, child abuse and murder.

CICA Tariff Scheme

Assessment of payments by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is now determined by fixed CICA tariffs that dictate the criminal injury compensation scheme payout for almost every type of injury. There are 20 CICA tariff bands ranging from £1,000 up to £250,000 each containing a list of specific injuries that qualify for an award within the band. The regulations currently in place were implemented in 1995 and amendments were applied in 2001. Applications for compensation are initially considered and may be reviewed by CICA claims officers. If the need arises, particularly where there is a dispute as to the appropriate tariff band, a more senior officer may further review the claim. Moreover, appeals can be submitted by a criminal injury solicitor to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel (CICAP), which is an independent entity, the members of which are appointed by the Secretary of State.

  • Physical and Mental Injuries:
    • Physical and/or mental injuries are graded according to seriousness. The bands range from £1,000 to £250,000. If there is a combination of minor injuries which cause at least two visits to a doctor for treatment and recovery takes at least 6 weeks then the victim may qualify.
  • Compensation for Loss of Earnings:
    • If the injuries cause the victim to lose salary or the capacity to earn, for more than 28 weeks, the victim may be eligible for compensation for this loss. The Criminal Injury Compensation Authority will not pay damages for the first 28 weeks of lost salary or earning capacity.
  • Special expenses:
    • If the victim's injuries cause them to be incapacitated, or they are likely to be incapacitated, for more than 28 weeks they may be entitled to damages for any costs they have paid for medical treatment or care.

CICA Compensation Criteria

  • The incident must be reported to the police as soon as possible.
  • The value must be over £1,000 however relatively minor injury can justify an award.
  • The application must be submitted within two years of the violent incident.
  • RTA offences are excluded except where a vehicle has been deliberately used as a weapon.
  • The victim must not have provoked the assailant.
  • The claimants behaviour before, during and after the violent incident are taken into account.
  • The victim's 'unspent' previous convictions may affect the amount of compensation awarded.
  • The claimant must co-operate with the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority.
  • The claimant must assist the police and the prosecuting authority if appropriate.
  • It is not necessary for there to be a conviction in order to claim.
  • A family violence victim can be awarded compensation if the offender will not benefit.

Qualifying Injuries

Personal injuries that do qualify under the criminal injury compensation scheme pay scale include :-

  • violent crimes including arson and poisoning
  • arrest or attempted arrest of a suspect or alleged suspect
  • lending assistance to a police officer carrying out his duties
  • taking action to prevent an offence

Fatal Injury

In the case of the death of an assault victim compensation may be paid out to a dependant and to specified close relatives. Compensation can be claimed by criminal injury solicitors even if the assailant has not been apprehended or convicted of a criminal offence. Compensation for loss of earnings can be claimed after 28 weeks of inability to work - periods less than that will not qualify. A claim can be made for other expenses such as private healthcare, special equipment and personal care.

Restricting Factors

Assessment of a claim's value is carried out by applying the CICA tariffs wherein each individual injury has a value. For multiple claims the worst three injuries are evaluated, with the second and third being discounted by a set percentage prior to the addition of all three amounts to determine the final award. In certain cases, reduction or refusal of an award may be applied particularly if the claimant does not fully cooperate with the authorities or if he has "unspent" criminal convictions. Other factors which may affect an award include the claimant's behaviour prior to, during, and after the incident.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel

There is a well established and fair appeals procedure built in to every stage of the claims process. Any interim decisions made by claims officers dealing with the application at the CICA are subject to re-consideration by a more senior officer within the department at the request of the claimant. These decisions are notified in writing to the claimant and documentation to start the re-consideration process is included in the correspondence. Final Decisions can be appealed to a totally independent Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel (CICAP) who are subject to scrutiny by the Parliamentary Ombudsman who will investigate allegations of maladministration by CICAP at the request of the applicant's member of Parliament. In Scotland an application can be made direct to the Ombudsman. Information on the appeals procedure is always included in the written notification of a final decision. Our criminal injury solicitors do not make any extra charge for submitting your claim for appeal to CICAP.

Criminal Injury Solicitors

Our criminal injury solicitors deal with claims on a no win no fee* basis, the terms of which will be outlined in detail to you. The CICA do not pay legal charges and if your claim is successful there will be a deduction from the compensation paid to you to cover the cost of legal fees incurred on your behalf. If you would like advice at no cost from a specialist personal injury solicitor then just call the helpline or complete the contact form or email our solicitors offices and we will phone you without further obligation.



*Legal Information

The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here


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