Acid attacks are often overlooked in the UK. The statistics show that the UK has one of the highest recorded figures for acid/chemical attacks, in the world. Between 2012 and 2016, there was a 500% rise in the recorded number of attacks, going from 73 to 469.

What is an acid attack?

An acid attack is where an individual throws or sprays another with a harmful or corrosive substance, with the intention to cause harm. While they are often thought of as a rare occurrence, the statistics show they are a lot more of a regular occurrence than people think. Sadly, they are becoming more and more common. The consequences of such attacks are devastating for the victim, both physically and psychologically. Depending on the substance used and the target of the body, attacks can result in permanent disfigurement, scarring, tissue/nerve damage or even loss of senses such as sight and hearing.

Who can I claim against?

As with all kinds of crimes, the perpetrator themselves can be claimed against directly. As usually however, the attacker must have the funds to be able to compensate the claimant, which generally isn’t the case. Otherwise, the CICA is one of the best route to pursue the claim.

How do I claim for my injuries?

Providing that the eligibility criteria is met, the next step would be to assess the main basis for the claim. With the majority of acid attacks, there is always a degree of scarring or disfigurement. However, in some cases if the acid comes into contact with certain extremities, it can lead to further injuries. For example, acid thrown directly at the face would cause scarring and disfigurement, but could potentially also leading to blindness/deafness, if it comes into contact with the eyes/ears or severe breathing issues if the acid is inhaled. As the CICA scheme compensates 100% of the most serious injury, the CICA will assess the injuries listed in the application and offer an award based on their assessment of the most to less serious injuries as documented by medical evidence.

What types of injuries can I claim for?

Let’s take a look at some figures for acid related injuries within the CICA scheme:

  • Burns covering multiple areas of the body – Burns that affect multiple areas of the body, amount to 25% or more of the total skin, with significant scarring – £33,000
  • Burns to the head – Moderate – £2,400 Severe- £16,500
  • Burns to the face – Moderate – £3,500 Severe – £27,000
  • Burns to the neck – Moderate- £2,400 Severe – £16,500
  • Burns to the body – Moderate – £2,400 Severe – £11,000

The CICA have a couple of notes that help us understand exactly what they mean by moderate and severe burns;

Moderate – First or second-degree burns covering no more than 25% of the afflicted area in adults, or 20% for children Or third degree burns covering no more than 10% of the afflicted area in both adults and children

Severe – First or second-degree burns covering more than 25% of the afflicted area in adults, or 20% for children or third degree burns covering more than 10% of the afflicted area for adults and children. Fourth degree burns are also covered under severe.

Without getting too technical, the level of degree of a burn is determined by the amount of damage to chemical has done to the skin, including what layer of the skin it has penetrated through to. The most common burns are first, second and third, but they can continue on as 4th, 5th and 6th, although these are rarer. If you have suffered a burn, the medical professional treating you will make you aware of what degree burn you have.

Some injuries of other areas and aspects that may occur as a result of an acid attack:

  • Loss of sight – In one eye – £22,000 In both eyes – £110,000
  • Loss of eye/s- One eye – £27,000 Both eyes – £110,000
  • Loss of hearing- One ear – £16,500 Both ears – £44,000
  • Paralysis- Hemiplegia – £27,000 to £110,000
  • Paraplegia – £27,000 to £175,000
  • Quadra/Tetraplegia £44,000 to £250,000. 
  • Mental Injuries- £1,000 to £27,000
  • Permanent internal damage due to inhalation- £11,000

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.

What evidence do I need to have to be able to claim?

In order to claim for injuries sustained as a result of an acid attack, you must have substantial medical evidence in place. It is necessary to also have not only reported the incident to the police, but also have given a statement and chosen to press charges if offered. If not, the CICA may view this as non-compliance, and failing to aid the investigation as far as reasonably practicable is grounds for rejection, as per the CICA criteria and scheme. It would be very unlikely that no medical evidence would be present for a chemical attack case, as the survivors often need immediate medical attention and ongoing treatment long after the initial incident. Medical evidence in the form of general records to specialist burn unit reports would all be acceptable forms of medical evidence. Any written documents, entries and photographs from a medical professional in direct relation to the injuries sustained would be accepted by the CICA.

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

This is perhaps one of the best features of making a CICA claim. So long as 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.

What about acid attacks/incidents at work?

If you have been a victim of an acid attack at work, please contact us directly. We can discuss the case prospects with you and give advice on the best options. If the incident at work was due to negligence or faulty equipment, the process if very different to claiming through the CICA.

If you have been a victim of an acid attack and think that you may be entitled to compensation, please contact us today. We will offer confidential, compassionate advice and will assist you in helping make a claim. We operate on a no win no fee basis, meaning you do not need to worry about the financial costs or any hidden fees.

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

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