If you have witnessed a violent crime, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) scheme, provided that you meet certain eligibility criteria.
To be eligible for a CICA claim as a witness, you must have been physically injured as a direct result of the crime, or have suffered a recognised psychiatric condition as a result of witnessing the crime. This could include conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression.
In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria, there are other factors that the CICA will take into consideration when assessing your claim, such as the severity of your injuries, the impact of the crime on your life, and any other relevant factors.
Criminal injuries are not just of a physical nature, they can also be psychological. Physical injury is more straightforward for example if you are beaten up, attacked, assaulted, or mugged and have been injured as a result of the criminal conduct of another party you have a right to seek compensation.
Psychological injury though can be more difficult to define. If you witnessed a violent crime, for instance, an armed robbery or someone being attacked, just because you weren’t physically injured doesn’t mean that’s the end of it. Because most of us are lucky enough not to come into contact with violent behaviour, often when we do it has a deep psychological impact.
If you have been witness to an act of violence you could find that you keep reliving the attack over and over. This can lead to a feeling of being afraid and not wanting to go out into public. Fear and panic set in and you become unable to live your life as you did before witnessing the attack. If you can relate to this then you should contact a personal injury solicitor to find out if you could be entitled to claim compensation.
There are two basic requirements for a successful compensation claim, these are that the victim must be the innocent party caught up in a criminal act and that this has led to them suffering the physical or psychological injury. Also, CICA need the mental injury should be diagnosed by a psychiatrist or psychologist. CICA won’t accept the diagnosis from any other medical professional.
Any compensation award will be determined by the type and extent of any injuries and any long-lasting effects it has had on your life. This includes any effect on your ability to earn a living.