Surprisingly the decision of when to claim compensation for a criminal injury is very tactical, so should be discussed with a Solicitor as soon as you become aware of the criminal injury compensation scheme.
Should I wait for the outcome of the Court hearing before claiming compensation?
We often to speak with victims of crime who have waited until the outcome of the court case before claiming compensation. Sometimes the police will have told you to do this, and whilst the police have justifiable reasons for giving you this advice; it can sometimes prejudice your rights to compensation. Our advice would always be to claim as soon as possible, as the CICA will not accept a delay in claiming caused by awaiting the outcome of the case to be an exceptional reason for waiving their 2 year time limit.
It is also often a misconception that you should await the outcome of the court case, as you are only able to claim if your offender is found guilty. Simply, this is not true. The burden of proof required by the CICA is less than what was is required by the CPS, and subsequently a Jury; therefore usually your claim can be decided using the police evidence and in some cases your claim may settle before the outcome of the court case.
In the event your assailant is found not guilty, there is still a strong chance you will be eligible for compensation. Call us on 0113 320 5000 and we can discuss this with you further.
Are there reasons for delaying my claim for compensation?
Many victims do not realise previous criminal convictions affect their entitlement to claim. It is important to speak to a Criminal Injuries Solicitor to work out when best to make a claim. For example if you were fined 9 months ago (providing you have paid the fine), your conviction will not prevent you from claiming, once it is spent. Fines usually are spent after 12 months, so after checking with a Solicitor, apply after the conviction is spent, otherwise not only is your claim rejected, you cannot at a later date reapply. It’s really unfair, but that’s how the current CICA scheme is drafted. CICA complaints can be made but they do have strict rules governing the scheme.
What happens if I have a life limiting illness and wish to make a claim for compensation?
Please speak to us, as I have been able to expedite such claims so that compensation is paid before the victim dies. Firstly this means the victim sees that compensation has been paid, and secondly it means the claim is not stopped, as the CICA do not need to pay compensation when the victim dies.
Do I need to co-operate with the police?
Yes, and that’s not simply giving an initial statement, it’s communicating with them throughout the case. I see cases rejected by the CICA because the police say the victim was uncooperative. Sometimes the reason for not cooperating is very understandable, you don’t manage to speak to the police or you simply forget to call them back. Or you may even be scared of cooperating as it might have repercussions for you or your family. Whilst all those reasons are genuine, the CICA will simply reject your claim for non-cooperation.
Are there other reasons that affect my entitlement to compensation?
Sometimes victims of crime commit crimes themselves after submitting their claim. If that happens the CICA are likely to reject their claim. Examples include bringing a claim for injuries suffered in a robbery, but having their claim rejected due to a subsequent drink drive offence. Quite rightly you say but the two are not related, so why should the CICA reject the genuine claim, unfortunately they can and always do as it saves the compensation fund money.
Please call us on 0113 320 5000 so that we can advise you on your eligibility to claim compensation and if you would like us to act for you, so that we devise the best way to do this, e.g. submitting a claim immediately, or where criminal convictions are relevant working out the appropriate date to submit a claim.
You can email us for advice on email@example.com