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