We will explain the general claim process and how long it can take to receive compensation from the CICA. With current world events, COVID is at the back of everyone’s mind. Unfortunately, due to the colossal impact it had on the world in 2020 and 2021, many businesses are still feeling the last effects, and the CICA is one of them. Due to staff working from home and illness, the processing of the cases the CICA received was delayed quite severely. On average, the CICA settles around 35,000 – 50,0000 cases a year, which when calculated down to an average daily rate, is around 100-134 cases a day. It is important to keep in mind that not all CICA cases that are submitted will settle within the same year.
To better understand how long it can take to settle a CICA claim, we firstly need to look at the claim process. Below, is a step by step claim process before a decision is made by CICA;
1.) The claim is submitted and allocated to a CICA file handler.
2.) The file handler requests the police evidence (reports/statements etc.) and also requests a convictions check on applicant. Once all the information is received, the information is checked. Providing everything is okay, the case progresses to the next stage. If there is an issue, the case will be rejected and a letter will be sent out with reason for rejection. It can take 30-60 days for a case to move to next stage.
3.) Then file handler requests for some form. This could initially be an injury from to be completed by the claimant or GP so that the CICA can understand the injuries and current status for those injuries. If everything is in order, the file handler will proceed to the next stage to evaluate the injuries or may ask for more evidence. If there is an issue with the form and injuries described in applicant doesn’t match with form then file handler would reject the claim and a letter would be sent out with the reason.
4.) File handler will request for either medical records or a medical report if they are satisfied with the initial medical form. The representative or claimant will handle the requesting, gathering and providing of this evidence and medical reports and send it to CICA for review. The file handler will review the evidence and decide what the next stage will be.
5.) After receiving and assessing the medical information, the file handler will either ask for further medical evidence or treatment, or a decision will be made on the case and a letter will be sent out, detailing whether an offer has been made, or if the matter has been rejected.
Perhaps one of the most frustrating things about the claim process is that we don’t just have to consider the CICA’s delays, but also the delays with third parties, such as the police and GP surgeries. Dependent on which police force is investigating the matter, the response can be anywhere from a few weeks to several months. We tend to find that the delay is often with larger police forces, such as Metropolitan or GMP. GP surgeries often advise of a 4-12 week wait for the completion of a medical report. If the medical report requires completion by a specialist (Surgeon/Mental Health) this could be longer. Sadly, the delays are unavoidable, and the CICA do chase the police monthly with a reminder of the information they are waiting on.
With the last stage, the file handler will collectively look at all of the information gathered and decide whether or not further information is needed to determine an outcome for the case. Typically, this only applies if for example there is extensive mental health treatment that has only been touched on in the general medical records (Medical records and Mental health records are often separate documents depending on treatment received.) This would also apply if the individual in question is to continue receiving ongoing treatment. Although claims can be medically reopened, the CICA prefer to wait as best they can for the ultimate outcome for the present situation.
A CICA decision letter layout includes the following:
- The decision that has been made (Rejection or award)
- The amount offered
- The paragraph from the scheme the decision has been made under
- A breakdown of the injuries that have been compensated
- An explanation by the decision maker on why they have awarded the amounts highlighted in the breakdown.
The decision letter allows us to see what paragraph in the scheme the decision maker has used to reach the outcome of the claim. This in turn allows us to make a decision on whether or not an appeal would be successful. For example, it would be much easier to appeal a case that has been rejected for lack of evidence, providing there is new and detailed evidence, than it would be to appeal a case where it has been rejected due to unspent convictions, as this is something the CICA are absolute on.
One of the pros of the process that the CICA follow is that at each stage is allows for the chance of rejection, meaning that you do not have to wait for the full process to then be let down at the end. Of course we would always aim for an award to be given, but if for example, a claimant was unsure if they could claim, and their case was submitted and there was an issue with the police evidence, it would be rejected at that stage. This means that the claimant doesn’t need to wait for the whole process to receive their rejection.
With all of this considered, a CICA claim can take anywhere from a few months to 12 months plus. At Criminal Injury Solicitors, we have received settlements within 14 days of submission. Although having a representative does not guarantee the case being processed faster, a representative ensures that all deadlines are kept on top of and the claim is handled in the most efficient and smooth manner. A representative also ensures that the professional experience is there at the end to help decide how best to handle the outcome of the claim.
Don’t let the potential processing time of the claim dishearten you from enquiring. Ultimately, having a representative means very little involvement from the claimant themselves, past the initially application completion stage.
Please contact us today for an assessment of your case and its factors. We will provide you with a compassionate yet professional approach on the matter and advise you best on your options.