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January 5th 2022

Criminal Injuries

How free legal advice could lead to a substantial increase to your criminal injuries’ compensation award

Tracy Thames

Tracy Thames

Litigation Executive, Criminal Injuries

How free legal advice could lead to a substantial increase to your criminal injuries’ compensation award

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) paid out £153 million to victims of crime last year. But the number of people coming forward to make a claim has dropped considerably.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) paid out £153 million to victims of crime last year. But the number of people coming forward to make a claim has dropped considerably.

CICA says that’s partly due to the pandemic. It received almost 29,000 new applications in 2020–21, a 13% decrease on the previous year, it was also the lowest annual volume of new applications since the 2012 scheme was introduced.

CICA’s annual report also reveals that around 30% of its compensation awards were changed when they were appealed.

Hudgell Solicitors are experts in Criminal Injury Compensation Awards. As one of the most experienced and knowledgeable criminal injury specialists in the UK, we can work closely with CICA to work towards the compensation and justice you deserve.

As a victim of crime how much compensation you get from CICA could depend on the expert evidence you submit with your claim.

Criminal injury case reopened

In one recent case a client who had been attacked and stabbed was initially awarded £1,250 in compensation after completing the CICA process himself. When he later instructed specialists at Hudgell Solicitors his criminal injury case was reopened, and he eventually received £246,000.

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

We find that many people who have applied to 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.

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

Depending on the severity of your physical or psychological injuries, you could be entitled to compensation ranging from £1,000 to £500,000.

Applicants who disagree with CICA’s decision can request a review by a different claims officer and, if still dissatisfied with CICA’s review decision, can appeal to the independent First-tier Tribunal.

Our specialists normally settle at review in most client cases. Where we do have to submit an appeal to the First Tier Tribunal, it can be daunting for the victim as they think it will be like a court room where they are cross examined. However, it is much less formal and can be a powerful tool, as the victim will be listened to and will have the opportunity to provide the Tribunal with their personal experience of their injuries and the impact it has had on them.

Challenging compensation awards

In another client case a 46-year-old police officer suffered injuries when assaulted by a suspect he was arresting.

Hudgell Solicitors submitted a claim on behalf of its client to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. CICA’s initial offer was for £1,500. Our legal specialist challenged this and submitted supporting medical evidence as part of the appeal. The subsequent offer was £6,200.

In a case like this, where our client has suffered potentially life-changing injuries that have changed the course of his day-to-day working life, it was important that we fought for the right outcome.

While the damages received will in no way make up for the assault and the continued pain, we were pleased to be able to agree a settlement that might bring our client some peace of mind.

Read more: Police officer’s compensation increased by CICA after on-duty assault left him with a ‘life-changing’ injury

You can also be awarded compensation for your injuries even if criminal charges were never brought following an assault. Even if the perpetrator was never identified, caught, or convicted we may still be able to obtain a settlement.

Compensation awarded without criminal charges being brought

Hudgell Solicitors challenged an initial rejection by CICA in the case of a 44-year-old man who alleged he was regularly sexually abused by a neighbour when he was a child.

No criminal charges could be brought as 30 years had passed and the police couldn’t gather enough evidence to support the allegations and a criminal case was not pursued.

The man turned to Hudgell Solicitors to seek civil redress and more than £29,000 was offered in recognition of the sexual abuse suffered, and loss of earnings due to mental health injuries.

Many people wrongly assume that without a criminal conviction a CICA claim for damages cannot be pursued, but this case highlights that it can. We certainly felt, given the account of our client and the statement he had made to the police, and the clear impact on his life and health, that a claim was justified.

Read more: £29,000 compensation awarded to man who spoke out about being abused as a child.

All the cases we pursue are on a ‘no win no fee’ basis, so there’s no financial risk to you. You also won’t be under any obligation to continue after your free initial consultation, but our advice and support could make a significant difference to the outcome of any claim.

Please download a copy of our Criminal Injuries Guide.

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