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January 15th 2021

Criminal Injuries

Damages of £246,000 secured for man stabbed 12 years ago after ‘medical reopening’ of criminal injuries claim

Nicola Bailey-Gibbs

Nicola Bailey-Gibbs

Associate, Criminal Injuries and Civil Liberties

Damages of £246,000 secured for man stabbed 12 years ago after ‘medical reopening’ of criminal injuries claim

A man who has struggled through the past 12 years of his life suffering from the psychological impact of being stabbed outside of his home has received £246,000 in damages after his criminal injuries case was reopened.

A man who has struggled through the past 12 years of his life suffering from the psychological impact of being stabbed outside of his home has received £246,000 in damages after his criminal injuries case was reopened.

The man, now 30, of Peckham, London, had been awarded just £1,250 in damages back in 2011 after applying to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) and completing the process himself.

However, with psychological injuries related to the attack still impacting significantly on his life, he was advised by his counsellor in 2018 to seek further legal redress.

Having instructed specialists at Hudgell Solicitors, they secured expert advice from an independent psychiatric who diagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and a ‘disabling mental illness’ which has impacted on all areas of his life.

Lawyers submitted fresh evidence to the CICA, highlighting how the man had struggled to hold down a job due to his mental illness, impacting on his income given he had a scholarship as a professional footballer at the time of the attack, and was beginning on a career path in accounting and banking.

Nicola Bailey-Gibbs, a specialist in handling claims to the CICA at Hudgells, said: “Our client’s life has been seriously affected by the attack upon him back in 2008 when he was stabbed by someone unknown to him just outside of his home.

“Thankfully, the physical injuries were not too serious given the nature of the attack and he was only in hospital with an injury to his torso for a couple of days. However, he was left with no support to help him cope with the psychological impact of what had happened to him, which continues to have a serious impact on his life today.

“That was laid bare when he went for counselling support some 10 years after the attack and he was advised to seek a medical reopening of his case. We have been delighted to support him through that process and secure him a damages settlement which truly reflects the impact this attack has had, and continues to have, on his life.”

Attack has ‘impacted on every aspect of life’

Speaking about his struggles, the man said he believes the attack has impacted on every aspect of his life.

“I’ve never really held down any job and I have gone from one low paid job to another as I really struggle with social situations and I find it hard to have conversations with people. I have panic attacks and it has impacted on my work life and also the relationships I have had,” he said.

“When you suffer an attack like I did you become really reluctant to mix and be outgoing, so for me the whole 18 to 30 stage of my life has passed me by. Before this happened I was outgoing and loved being around people and playing football.

“It has impacted on every aspect of life. I still live at home with my mum and sister and that is probably linked to what happened. I have just stayed home and stayed safe.”

The man says he made his own application to the CICA following the attack, receiving damages of £1,250 in 2011.

“I was told about the scheme by Victim Support and I pretty much detailed what had happened to me and the physical injuries I had suffered, which of course were fortunately not too bad.

“It was my counsellor who said to me that I was still really badly affected when I saw her in 2018. She said I need a year out and a year away from the stress of trying to hold down a job whist still facing my issues. She said that I should look to get my CICA case medially reopened to reflect the impact the incident was still having on me.

“I had no idea I could do that, and no idea that I could claim compensation for the psychological impact over the past 12 years, and for how it has affected my income.

“This has really demonstrated to me the need to instruct lawyers and experts in cases like this.

“Now I am going to be in a position where I can take the advice of my counsellor and really take time out, get the support I need and focus on dealing with what has hung over my life for so long.”

Claims can be reopened in cases of significant change in medical condition

Solicitor Mrs Bailey-Gibbs added: “Unlike personal injury claims, in which damages are final once agreed and paid, a CICA case can be reopened on medical grounds if there is a significant change in the medical condition of the victim.

“We have successfully reopened a number of claims for people and secured additional medical evidence which significantly raises the level of their awards. This can often relate to cases of serious physical assault such as this one or cases of abuse, as it can take several years for true extent of the mental impact to become apparent.

“We find that many people who have applied to the CICA themselves have not had conditions such as PTSD assessed and medically diagnosed, and therefore that is not taken into account in calculating the damages to be awarded.

“Awards also don’t often reflect the true impact on somebody’s earnings, both past and future, as was the case with the original award made to our client in this case. His employment prospects were irretrievably damaged and he is likely to continue to suffer ongoing symptoms which will adversely affect his employment in the long term.

“Obviously we were delighted with the result for our client in this case and we hope that it helps him get the time and support he needs to make the best possible future for himself.”

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