Helping the victims of violent crimes
If you are a victim of a violent crime and suffer an injury, we can help you make a criminal injury compensation claim through the CICA.
How Much Could You Claim?

Criminal Injury Compensation Claims

Anyone who suffers an injury or illness due to someone else’s negligence is entitled to compensation for their pain, suffering and financial losses. The most common situations leading to a claim include road traffic collisions, accidents at work, sports injuries and medical negligence. The defendant’s insurance company will typically pay the compensation awarded in such claims.

In the case of criminal injuries, on the other hand, the attacker is often unidentified or does not have the means to pay for damages. However, you could still make a claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The CICA is a government-funded scheme set up to help blameless victims of violent crimes. The rules for making a CICA claim are slightly different, but a personal injury solicitor can guide you through all the steps and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

To learn more about making a criminal injury compensation claim, call 0800 032 3660 or request a call back using our online form. Alternatively, you can continue reading our comprehensive guide to making a claim below.

Am I eligible to make a criminal injury compensation claim?

No amount of money can alleviate the distress experienced by victims of violent crime. However, a compensation award can help you cope better and put you back in the financial position you were in before the assault.

Claiming for a criminal injury is different from other personal injury claims. Some of the main requirements your solicitor will verify before taking on your case include:

  • You have been the victim of a violent crime;
  • Your behaviour did not contribute to the incident;
  • The criminal act took place within the past two years;
  • You have reported the incident to the police as soon as possible and have a crime reference number;
  • The attacker cannot benefit from your compensation;
  • The incident occurred in England, Scotland or Wales, where you were a resident at the time.

You may also be able to claim for criminal injuries if:

  • You sustained an injury or injuries during the crime or while taking reasonable steps to stop a crime;
  • You were psychologically injured due to witnessing a violent crime or by the aftermath of such an event;
  • You have lost a loved one as a result of a violent crime.

There are some situations where you may not be eligible for compensation, such as:

  • You did not report the incident to the police or took too long to do it;
  • You suffered a criminal injury longer than two years before starting the claim;
  • Your behaviour contributed to your injury;
  • You failed to cooperate with the police or the CICA in their investigations;
  • You have a criminal record;
  • You suffered minor physical injuries, or your psychological injuries were mild and short-lived.

Your personal injury lawyer will thoroughly assess your case and determine whether you have grounds to claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

Instead of using a solicitor, you can submit a claim directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority yourself. This can be done online and is free of charge. For further information, visit the CICA website.

What is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme?

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme is a government-funded program that provides compensation to victims who have sustained injuries as a result of violent crimes in the UK. It is administered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), which decides who is eligible for compensation and how much they should receive in damages.

Key features of the scheme include:

  • It compensates individuals who have been physically or mentally injured as victims of violent crimes. These can include injuries resulting from assaults, sexual offences, domestic violence, and other criminal acts.
  • Before you apply to the CICA, you must report the incident to the police and have a crime reference number. You’ll then need to provide details about the incident, the injuries sustained, and other relevant information and cooperate with the CICA and the authorities in their investigations.
  • There are specific time limits to claim compensation. In most cases, you must apply within two years of the date of the incident. However, there are exceptions for cases involving child abuse or cases where the victim’s mental capacity is compromised.
  • The compensation award is determined based on a tariff of injuries based on severity and can range between £1,000 and £250,000. It may cover various losses, including pain and suffering, loss of earnings, medical expenses, and funeral costs in case of a fatal injury.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority aims to provide financial support to those who have suffered physical or psychological harm due to criminal acts. It recognises the impact that such incidents can have on the lives of individuals and aims to assist in their recovery.

CICA claims

What types of crimes could lead to a CICA claim?

If you suffered an injury due to an incident for which you were not to blame, you may be eligible to start a criminal compensation claim. The types of crimes for which you could claim include:

Assaults

Assault refers to an intentional act that causes another person to fear that they will be physically harmed. It involves the threat of violence or the use of force against someone else. Notably, an assault can occur even if there is no actual physical contact and only results in mental harm.

Sexual assault

Sexual assault refers to any non-consensual activity that involves unwanted or forced sexual behaviour. It is a form of criminal act that can take various forms, including rape, attempted rape, unwanted touching, or any other non-consensual act.

Domestic violence

Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, refers to a pattern of abusive behaviour within a relationship. It typically involves one partner exerting power and control over the other. This form of violence can occur in various types of domestic relationships, including romantic partnerships, marriages, or family relationships.

Child abuse

Child abuse refers to any mistreatment or harm inflicted upon children, whether by parents, caregivers, or other individuals. It may involve physical, sexual or emotional abuse. These can include hitting, slapping, molestation, verbal abuse, constant criticism or neglect. You may be able to claim compensation for any abuse reported to the police after 1965, even if the abuser has already passed away.

Shaken baby syndrome

This is a type of brain trauma inflicted upon babies or young children. It occurs when a caregiver violently shakes a baby, often out of frustration or anger, causing the baby’s head to move back and forth rapidly. This shaking motion can result in severe and sometimes fatal injuries to the child’s brain.

Homicide

Homicide describes any act that results in the death of an individual. The two main types are murder, which is an intentional and premeditated act, and manslaughter, which lacks the intent to cause death. If you lost a loved one due to a violent crime and you classify as their dependant, you could claim criminal injury compensation.

Hit-and-run accidents

A hit and run accident is when a driver involved in a collision leaves the scene without stopping. Typically, claims following a hit-and-run are made through the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB). However, you could also make a CICA claim if you have proof that the other party used their vehicle intending to cause you harm.

Terrorist attacks

A terrorist attack is a deliberate and violent act carried out to create a sense of terror and panic within a population. It refers to the use of intentional violence and fear to achieve political, religious or ideological aims. If you or a loved one were injured in a terrorist attack, whether in the UK or abroad, you could be eligible to claim through the CICA.

Robberies and muggings

You may also be eligible for compensation if you were the victim of a robbery or mugging. It is not sufficient to have lost your possessions, and you must have also suffered an injury.

What injuries could lead to a criminal injury claim?

Criminal assaults can lead to a wide range of injuries, varying in severity depending on the nature and intensity of the assault, such as:

  • Bruises and contusions from blunt-force trauma
  • Cuts and lacerations from sharp objects or weapons used in the assault
  • Fractures from powerful blows or impacts with the pavement or nearby objects
  • Head injuries, ranging from minor concussions to more severe traumatic brain injuries
  • Sprains and strains from overexertion or forceful movements during the assault
  • Facial injuries, such as swelling, black eyes or broken teeth, jaw or nose
  • Stab wounds or gunshot injuries, which may cause damage to tissues and internal organs
  • Psychological injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression
  • Fatal injuries resulting from bleeding, severe brain injuries, gunshot wounds and other traumas

This list is not exhaustive, as you may suffer other types of harm that could lead to a successful criminal compensation claim.

How do you claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority?

If you have suffered any injury due to a violent crime, the first thing you should do is report the incident to the police, preferably within 48 hours. Afterwards, it would be best to get in touch with a solicitor as soon as possible. The time limit to make a criminal compensation claim is typically two years after the violent act.

Your solicitor will let you know whether you can claim compensation for a criminal injury and guide you through the claims process. They will also help you gather all the necessary documents to support your case, which could be:

  • Proof that you meet the residency requirements
  • A police report about the incident and a crime reference number
  • Evidence that you collaborated with the authorities in their investigations
  • Photographs of the incident scene and any visible injuries
  • CCTV recordings if the criminal act was caught on security cameras
  • Medical records, diagnostic tests and doctor’s notes regarding your injuries, treatments and recovery prospects
  • A report from an independent specialist about the long-term effects of your injuries and care needs
  • Witness statements about how the incident occurred
  • Evidence of lost earnings, medical bills and other financial losses and expenses related to your case

Once you have all the necessary evidence, your solicitor will help you complete all the required forms and file your application. The CICA will investigate your claim and decide whether you will be awarded compensation. If the CICA decides you are not eligible for compensation, your solicitor may be able to appeal and help you secure the criminal injury compensation you deserve.

If the CICA accepts your claim, they will then calculate how much compensation you are entitled to. It may take several months before you receive an offer. If the payment you are awarded is too low, your solicitor will also help you appeal this, often with a positive result. Once you accept a compensation offer, the CICA will send the money to you as quickly as possible. You will receive a lump-sum payment to a bank account in your name.

Please note that it is not a requirement to use a solicitor or claims management company to make a claim through the CICA. You can submit a claim directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority yourself for free. To find out more, please visit the CICA website.

Can I claim compensation after witnessing a crime?

Yes. You may be entitled to make a claim for compensation even if you were not the direct victim of a criminal act. Witnessing a violent crime can cause severe emotional trauma and shock that could have a long-lasting effect on your health and daily life.

You may develop various psychological injuries after witnessing a physical attack, robbery, domestic violence or other violent crime. These include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or phobias. To claim compensation for a psychological injury, you must be able to prove that it was caused by a criminal act.

You will need a formal diagnosis from a qualified medical health specialist, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. Your solicitor may also use your treatment records to prove your condition’s severity and recovery prospects. According to the CICA tariffs, you could receive:

  • £2,400 for a mental health condition with recovery within two years
  • £27,000 for a permanent and disabling mental injury

Can I claim if the criminal is unknown or was not convicted?

The Criminal Injury Compensation Authority focuses on helping the victim, not punishing the offender. Thus, you’re eligible to claim even if the responsible party was not identified or they have not been charged or prosecuted. To begin a claim, you only need to prove the following:

  • That you were not at fault for the incident
  • You reported the crime to the police immediately and cooperated with them
  • The injuries you suffered as a result

Unfortunately, only a small percentage of offenders of all types of crime are caught and convicted. Even when the criminal is identified and prosecuted, getting a conviction may take more than two years. That means you would miss the deadline required by the CICA to make a compensation claim if you would need a sentence to start legal proceedings.

In very few cases, if the assaulter is identified and has the means to pay for your damages, you can start a personal injury claim under criminal or civil law. In this case, you would have three years to begin your claim following the crime and have other advantages, such as:

  • You will likely receive a higher compensation award;
  • There is no upper limit for the payment you may be able to secure;
  • You can claim lost earnings from day one, whereas the CICA will only pay you after the first 28 weeks, during which you may be entitled to statutory sick pay.

Can I start a claim if I have a criminal record?

If you have an unspent criminal conviction, this may affect your eligibility to claim criminal injury compensation or the amount of any award. The CICA may refuse or reduce your payment under the Scheme if you have a criminal record for an offence which resulted in:

  • A custodial sentence
  • A community order
  • A youth rehabilitation order
  • Removal from His Majesty’s Service
  • A sentence excluded from rehabilitation
  • A sentence of service detention
  • A sentence equivalent to any of the above you received in a member state of the European Union, Northern Ireland or a country outside the EU

If the CICA decides to award you a reduced compensation award, you will receive penalty points based on the severity of your crime. For example, you will receive one penalty point for a minor criminal conviction, which will reduce your compensation by 10%. There is a maximum of 10 penalty points for the most severe crimes, in which case your claim will be rejected.

You must inform the CICA or your solicitor immediately if you receive a conviction after starting a criminal compensation claim. On the other hand, if you have a spent conviction, you are no longer legally required to declare it, according to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA).

criminal compensation claims

Can I claim compensation for a criminal injury on behalf of someone else?

You can apply for compensation for someone who cannot submit their claim on their own accord. For example, you could claim on behalf of a child or an adult who lacks mental capacity under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. In such cases, the CICA will ask for details and proof of the relationship with the injured party and your authority to act in their name.

A criminal injury solicitor could help you claim on behalf of your loved one. They will help you fill out and file all the necessary documents for applying to the court to be named as their litigation friend. Once you are approved, you can begin the claims process and will have several responsibilities, such as:

  • Act in the best interests of your loved one
  • Make sure they attend all their medical appointments
  • Make decisions about the case and the compensation offered to them
  • Attend court hearings, if necessary
  • Approve and sign legal documents
  • Meet with solicitors and take legal advice
  • Help gather evidence to support your case

If you win the claim and receive compensation, the funds will typically be held in a trust fund. This way, the total value of the payment will be protected until a child turns 18 or an injured adult recovers their mental capacity. The trust fund will also ensure that the compensation awarded is ring-fenced and will not prevent the injured person from receiving any means-tested state benefits they may be entitled to.

Claims for fatal incidents

If your loved one suffered a serious injury and passed away due to a criminal assault, you may be able to claim compensation. While no amount of money will lessen the pain of losing a loved one, it can help you deal with any financial strain caused by your loss. Under the CICA scheme, the relatives who might qualify for compensation include:

  • The deceased’s children
  • Parents of the deceased
  • Spouses and civil partners and, in some cases, former partners

The CICA offers a bereavement award for grief and suffering, a child’s payment for any children of the deceased and a dependency payment. Here, the definition of a child is not limited to a person who is under the age of 18. It also includes adults and any children born after they passed away.

A dependency payment will cover both financial and physical dependency on the deceased. The payment for economic dependency will be calculated at the weekly rate of statutory sick pay as a lump sum award. If there is more than one qualifying relative, the compensation amount will be divided in equal shares. A claim for physical dependency can be made if the deceased was your primary carer and helped you with basic needs such as personal hygiene, food preparation and keeping you safe from harm.

The CICA can also pay for reasonable funeral expenses, such as the cost of a memorial, flowers and transporting the body to the grave. If you are eligible, you will receive a flat rate of £2,500 to cover the basic funeral costs and may receive a further payment of up to £2,500 in certain circumstances. The total amount for funeral expenses cannot exceed £5,000.

What is the time limit to claim compensation through the CICA?

The general rule is that you must bring forth a CICA claim within two years. This is a year less than you would typically have to make a personal injury claim under civil law. Although two years may seem like enough time, you should act quickly if you decide to claim. Your solicitor will need time to gather evidence and build your case, and the CICA may no longer accept your claim if you miss any deadline.

There are several exceptions to this rule:

  • If you were under 18 when the abuse or incident happened, the two-year time limit will begin on your 18th birthday. A parent, legal guardian or another suitable adult could claim on your behalf at any time before you turn 18.
  • In case of historical child abuse, sexual abuse or rape, the two-year time limit begins from when you report the crime to the police.
  • If you have suffered psychological damage due to the abuse or assault, this can be traumatic and prevent you from starting a claim. In such cases, the CICA can extend the time limit if your delay was for a good reason and you have medical evidence to support it.

How much could my criminal injury compensation claim be worth?

If your claim is successful, the amount of compensation you could receive will depend on several factors related to your injury, its circumstances and how it has affected your life, such as:

  • The type and severity of the injury
  • The care and assistance you may need now and in the future
  • Lost earnings and financial expenses related to the injury
  • The cost of mobility aids and modifications to your home to accommodate a disability
  • Your physical and mental pain and suffering

To qualify for a payment for your financial losses and other costs, you must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Your expense must be necessary and a direct result of the criminal injury
  • Its cost must be reasonable
  • It must not be available for free from another source

The CICA Scheme has its own tariff for injuries, according to which compensation is awarded based on the type and severity of the harm you suffered. Part A of the tariff covers physical and mental injuries, and part B deals with sexual and physical abuse and other payments. The maximum amount of compensation you could receive through the Scheme is capped at £500,000.

Payments will be made for any injuries valued at over £1,000, and you can claim for up to three of your most severe injuries. If your claim is successful, you will receive:

  • 100 per cent of the total tariff value for the most severe injury
  • 30 per cent of the total amount for the second most serious injury
  • 15 per cent of the value of the third most severe injury

There are additional payments you could receive if you become pregnant, lose a foetus or contract a sexually transmitted disease as a result of the assault or abuse.

Benefits of using a solicitor to make a criminal injury claim

If you suffered injuries due to a criminal act, you can make a criminal injury compensation claim online by yourself. However, working with an experienced criminal injury lawyer can help take away all the stress and uncertainty of this process and ensure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to. Having a legal expert represent you brings various benefits, such as:

  • They will gather all the evidence required by the CICA;
  • They will present your case concisely and professionally;
  • They will guide you through the entire process and make sure all steps are taken correctly and on time;
  • They will know exactly how much compensation you should receive;
  • They have a high level of expertise and can guide you through the complexities of a criminal compensation claim;
  • They will make appeals to the CICA tribunal if your claim is rejected or you are not satisfied with the compensation offered to you;
  • They will handle all communication with the CICA on your behalf.

Furthermore, your solicitor will work on a no win no fee* claims basis. That means you do not have to pay them anything upfront, and they will only get a success fee if you receive compensation. This way, there is no financial risk to you, and you can benefit from legal representation regardless of your financial situation.

To start a CICA claim today or learn more about the claims process, do not hesitate to call 0800 032 3660 or request a call back for a free consultation with an experienced legal adviser.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.