Our senses are a huge fundamental part of our lives. Each day we use them consistently without a passing thought. But what happens when you lose full functionality of one of those senses due to an attack? The CICA scheme has a section that allows you to claim for blurred or double vision, whether it be total or partial, as a result of a violent crime.

Who can I claim against?

With all kind of claims, the offender themselves can be claimed against directly. However, this isn’t always the best option. The offender would need to have the money and resources for the claim that is being made against them. The Claimant would also need to likely have funds to seek representation, as most firms would not take on a private claim on a no win no fee basis. The most common and easily accessible route for all is through the CICA (Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority) a division within the government who compensate victims of violent crimes.

Am I eligible to claim through the CICA?

In order to be eligible to claim via the CICA, there are several criteria which you have to meet. Below, are some briefly outlined. For a full understanding or assessment of eligibility, please contact us:

  • Reported and cooperated in bringing the Assailant to justice – This means that the applicant needs to have not only reported the crime and given a statement, but also have supported the police as best they can in the investigation. This means cooperating and pressing charges if offered to do so. If the police or CPS choose to drop the case based on their own assessment or decision, then this wouldn’t affect the Applicant as this is something out of their control.
  • Not have unspent criminal convictions – This means that the applicant cannot have any ongoing or open convictions. It is not common knowledge that after a conviction has been carried out, there is sometimes a period of time afterwards where it is still classed as unspent. This varies based on the outcome of the conviction. As an example, If you were handed a prison sentence of 4 years or more, this would never be spent, under the rehabilitation of offenders act 1974. This even applies if you only served 2 years, as the calculation is based off of the sentence given, not served.
  • Not have claimed compensation for the same incident – If you have already submitted a claim to the CICA for an incident, and you submit another one, it will flag up on the system and be immediately rejected as a duplicate claim. If you receive compensation from another source (courts) for an incident you are claiming for via the CICA, this must be disclosed.
  • Claim must be submitted within 2 years of reporting it to the police – There are exceptions to this criteria, especially in cases where the victim is vulnerable (child etc.) however the general rule is there is a 2 year limitation.
  • UK resident/incident occurred within the UK – The incident must’ve occurred within the UK. There is an exception if you are a UK resident and have been a victim of a terrorist attack abroad you can claim via the UK scheme. You must also either be a UK resident or have a visa/residency permit or have been recognised as a victim of human trafficking/refugee by the home office. For a more comprehensive list of requirements for residency, please contact us.

Can I claim even if the offender isn’t caught or prosecuted?

This is perhaps one of the best thing while making a CICA claim. If you have aided the police as much as reasonably possible, the outcome of the investigation does not affect your chances of claiming. Of course, if there is a prosecution, this means more evidence, which could help aid the assessment of the claim. The bottom line is that, there does not need to be an arrest or prosecution of the Assailant providing you have aided the police as much as you can.

How can I claim for blurred vision through the CICA?

Claiming for blurred vision through the CICA follows the general CICA claims process. An initial application form is completed and sent to the CICA either online or via post. This application form has information such as the police reference number, reporting date and medical information such as the hospital visited if applicable and so on. The CICA receive this application and check it for any immediate apparent issues. They then move on to requesting the police information. This includes reports and statements. Once received, this is checked again, and then the medical evidence is requested. This is the responsibility of the representative or Applicant to gather, and generally consists of medical records.

Sometimes, CICA can ask for a medical report to be completed, either by a GP or specialist and often there is a cost associated with this. If you have suffered an injury that has had a detrimental effect on your vision the CICA may seek evidence from several types of field specific specialists. This could include an optician, Optometrist or Ophthalmologist. The CICA will look at any documents and reports provided by a specialist and use the information to assess the application. They likely will also look at prior records to assess the quality of the Applicant’s vision before submitting the case.

How much could I claim for loss of sight via the CICA?

Below are some figures that an Applicant could potentially claim for through the CICA, dependent on the complexity, severity and rehabilitation success of their injury. Unfortunately, the CICA will not compensate for temporary blurred or double vision:

Permanent blurred or double vision:

Slight – £2,400

Moderate – £6,200

Serious – £13,500

The CICA also has a multiple injury formula. This means that they will pay 100% of the most severe injury, as per their assessment. They will then pay 30% of the second most serious and 15% of the third. You are only eligible to claim for 3 injuries via the CICA, but it is worth listing them all, as the medical evidence available may suggest that an injury you deemed as minor could actually be worth more via the CICA scheme.

How does the CICA assess blurred vision?

The CICA assess blurred vision by reviewing general medical evidence, such as reports and records, and also reviewing specialist evidence, as provided by those relevant to the field that the injury falls into. The CICA will likely also look at previous medical history for the Applicant, especially if the Applicant has pre-existing sight issues. This ties in to loss of vision where the Applicant requires use of glasses etc. as the CICA will assess the previous scores of the Applicant’s eye tests, and current scores to determine the severity of the impact or deterioration of their vision.

What else might the CICA consider?

Other than the physical aspect, the CICA will also consider the psychological aspect of such a life changing injury. Arguably our vision is the most important sense, so losing proper function of it can have a severe effect on the mental health of the individual. To qualify to claim for mental injuries, the Applicant needs to have a diagnosis and treatment in place from a registered psychologist or psychiatrist. A GP will not suffice when it comes to mental health evidence. Payouts for mental health can range anywhere from £1,000 to £27,000 depending on severity, complexity and whether or not it is permanent.

Can I claim special expenses through the CICA?

Yes, the CICA do consider special expenses as part of a CICA claim. Special expenses cover anything that the Applicant requires to help them function in day-to-day life. For someone who has partial loss of vision, this could mean glasses, walking sticks, braille lessons and even a guide dog. Thankfully, the majority of these aids are available to all free, through various charities and organisations. Generally, the NHS will provide the Applicant with a stick or specially made glasses. There are some occasions where the CICA may not compensate for a special expense.

For example, if an Applicant decides to pay for private surgery, the CICA may or may not compensate. The CICA will also compensate for any adjustments that have been made to an Applicants house, providing these were at a cost to the individual. If the council or local authority did the renovations with no cost to the Applicant, they would be unable to seek special expenses for this. We recommend that anything a victim would like to try and claim for as a special expense, has a receipt or proof of purchase. Without this the CICA will likely not compensate.

Can I claim for loss of earnings?

The CICA can sometimes award compensation for loss of earnings if you have either been off of work for 28 weeks or more, or have been permanently signed off of work as a direct result of the injury that arose from the violent crime. As mentioned, the starting point for loss of earnings is 28 weeks. If you were off of work but returned before the 28-week mark, you would not be eligible for loss of earnings. To further be eligible to claim for loss of earnings you need to meet one of the following criteria and be able to provide the necessary proof (Pay slips etc.):

  • In paid work at the date of the incident that caused injury
  • Not in paid work but had been in regular employment for at least 3 years immediately before the incident that caused injury.
  • Not in paid work at the time because I was a minor.
  • Not in paid work at the time because I was in full time education.
  • Not in paid work at the time of the incident because I had caring responsibilities.

There is also an option to provide other details if you think that you may be entitled for loss of earnings but feel as though your circumstances don’t fall under one of the above listed criteria. Loss of earnings is calculated at the SSP weekly rate until the Applicant returns to work. If the Applicant is unable to do so, then it is calculated at the SSP weekly rate until either the Applicant reaches retirement age or their life expectancy cap. The life expectancy cap is a figure that the CICA calculate using the age you were when the incident occurred. It is rather morbid, but it is basically an approximate figure of when the Applicant is likely to die.

If you have suffered blurred or double vision, as a result of a violent crime, we can help. Please contact us for a confidential and compassionate discussion on the claim process, and we can support you in the next steps of making a claim.

For more information or for any advice, please call Criminal Injury Solicitors on 0333 996 9988 or email us on info@criminalinjurysolicitor.co.uk. You can also request a callback by filling the below callback request form.

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