What is Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme?

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme in the UK is a government-run program that provides financial compensation to individuals who have been physically or mentally injured as a result of violent crime. The compensation is paid to those who have suffered injury and can demonstrate that the injury was sustained as a direct result of a crime of violence.

To be eligible for compensation, the crime must have been reported to the police and the victim must have cooperated with the police investigation and prosecution. The amount of compensation awarded is based on a tariff system and can range from a few hundred to several thousand pounds, depending on the severity of the injury and other factors.

The purpose of this scheme is to provide financial support to victims of violent crime who have been physically or mentally injured as a result of the crime. The compensation is intended to help cover the cost of medical expenses (which are not covered by NHS or recoverable from any other source), lost income, and other expenses related to the injury.

What Payments Are Available From The Scheme?

CICA will consider claims for the following injuries, medical conditions and special expenses:

  • mental or physical injury following a crime of violence;
  • sexual or physical abuse;
  • loss of earnings – where you have no or limited capacity to work as the direct result of a criminal injury;
  • special expenses payments – these cover certain costs you may have incurred as a direct result of an incident. You can only ask us to consider special expenses if your injuries mean you have been unable to work or have been incapacitated to a similar extent for more than 28 weeks;
  • a fatality caused by a crime of violence including bereavement payments, payments for loss of parental services and financial dependency; and funeral payments.

To qualify for an award, an injury must be described in the tariff of injuries at Annex E of the CICA Scheme. Not all claims for compensation will be successful; you must be eligible under the rules of the Scheme.

How Long Does Criminal Injuries Compensation Take?

The average processing time for a criminal injury compensation claim is around 12-16 months, but this can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the amount of information that needs to be gathered.

In some cases, CICA may request additional information or evidence before making a decision on a claim, which can add to the processing time. Additionally, if a claim is contested or there are disputes over the amount of compensation, it may take longer to reach a decision.

The CICA usually aims to deal with sexual assault & sexual abuse cases within 8-12 weeks, if the applicant wishes that a decision on the application to be make considered using only the evidence collected by the police.

When the case is initially submitted, the CICA ask that we allow them up to 60 days to initially contact us with an update.

Can You Fast-Tracked a CICA Claim?

CICA make decision on a compensation claim based on police evidence and medical evidence. When you are submitting your CICA claim you have the option to choose the police and medical evidence or only the police evidence. CICA will make the faster decision on claim submitted with police evidence only option.

The CICA usually aims to deal with sexual assault & sexual abuse cases within 8-12 weeks, if the applicant wishes that a decision on the application to be make considered using only the evidence collected by the police.

If you have some mental and physical injuries then you can’t select police only option and CICA want medical evidence also.

In some cases, the CICA (Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority) may be able to fast-track a compensation claim. However, this will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and whether there are any extenuating circumstances that justify a faster processing time.

The CICA may consider fast-tracking a claim if:

  1. The victim has a terminal illness or a life-threatening condition
  2. The victim is experiencing severe financial hardship as a result of the incident
  3. The victim is in a vulnerable position, such as being homeless or in care
  4. The victim is experiencing ongoing harassment or threats as a result of the incident

In these cases, the CICA may prioritize the processing of the claim to ensure that the victim receives the compensation they are entitled to as quickly as possible. However, it’s important to note that there is no guarantee that a claim will be fast-tracked, and each case will be assessed on its own merits.

If you believe that your claim should be fast-tracked due to extenuating circumstances, you should contact the CICA directly to discuss your situation and provide any relevant evidence or documentation to support your claim. The CICA will consider all relevant factors when assessing your claim and making a decision on whether to fast-track it.

How Long Does CICA Take to Pay Out Award Amount?

In general, once the CICA has made a decision on a compensation claim, they will send out an award letter and request acceptance. CICA aims to process payment within 20 working days on receipt of acceptance of the award letter. However, there may be additional factors that affect the payment timeframe, such as the method of payment chosen by the victim and any additional checks or verifications that need to be completed.

It’s also worth noting that the CICA may make an interim payment to the victim in some cases, such as if the victim is experiencing financial hardship or if the claim is taking longer than expected to process. Interim payments are usually made within 10 working days of the decision being made.

If you have submitted a compensation claim to the CICA and are waiting for payment, you can contact the CICA directly to check on the status of your payment and ask any questions you may have. The CICA aims to process payments as quickly and efficiently as possible while also ensuring that all necessary checks and verifications are completed to prevent fraud and ensure that the correct amount of compensation is paid.

Which Injuries Can Not Be Claimed From CICA?

CICA has specific eligibility criteria for claims, and certain types of injuries or circumstances may not be eligible for compensation. Here are some common examples of injuries or circumstances that may not be eligible for compensation through the CICA:

Self-inflicted Injuries: Compensation cannot be awarded for injuries that were self-inflicted or caused by the victim’s own actions.

Criminal Activity: Compensation cannot be awarded for injuries sustained as a result of criminal activity in which the victim was participating, such as a fight or brawl.

Minor Injuries: Minor physical injuries which can be healed itself such as scratches, bruises, black eye, soft tissue injuries, broken nose, broken ribs, bruising or a black eye are not claimable. You can claim for scarring form CICA scheme.

Animal Attack / Dog Bite:  You can’t claim for any animal attack or bog bites unless the animal was used as a weapon and ordered to attack purely to cause the harm or injuries.

Theft or Burglary: Damaged or lost/stolen properties such as house, car, phone, or any other device cannot be claimed from CICA scheme. You can claim for physical or mental injuries sustained as a result of theft, burglary and attack.

PTSD Not Diagnosed by Psychologist or Psychiatrist: PTSD, Anxiety and depression needs to be diagnosed by a clinical Psychologist or Psychiatrist in order to make a claim. CICA won’t accept any diagnosis by GP or  any other medical professional.

When CICA Can Reject Your Claim?

The most common reasons for a Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) claim to be rejected are:

Time Limit: Claims must be made within two years of the date of the incident or the date when it is reported to the police. Where claimant is a minor they have until their 20th birthday to make a CICA claim. Claims made outside this time limit may be rejected, unless you have exceptional circumstances for the delay in submitting your claim.

Failure to Cooperate With the Police: Compensation claim may be rejected if the victim failed to provide statement, cooperate with the police during the investigation or dropped charges.

Unspent Conviction: If the claimant has an unspent conviction at the time of applying or before an award offer, their claim may be reduced or rejected. If you are unsure that your drink and drive or any other conviction is spent or unspent then give us a call.

Minor Injuries: If the injuries you sustained during the incident are minor and not included within the ‘CICA Scheme Tariff” then your claim may be rejected by CICA.

Psychological Injury Without Diagnosis: CICA may reject any claim compensation for mental injuries that are not diagnosed by a clinical Psychologist or Psychiatrist.

Lack of Supporting Evidence: If the requested medical evidence or other supporting evidence are not provided or not enough to demonstrate that you sustain an injury as a direct result of violent crime, then your claim may be rejected.

What Information Do I Need To Make A Criminal Injuries Compensation Claim?

To make a claim for compensation claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), you will need to provide certain information and documentation to support your criminal injury claim. Some of the information and documentation as minimum you will need include:

Details of The Crime & Injuries: You will need to provide a detailed account of the crime that resulted in your injury, including the date, time, location of the incident and injury details.

Crime Reference Number: You will need to provide the crime reference number issued by the police.

Police Station, Police Officer Name & Collar Number: You will need to provide the name of the police station, police officer name and collar number who dealt with the crime.

GP & Hospital Details and Medical records: You will need to provide GP & hospital details, consent to ask your medical records to see the nature and extent of your injuries, including any diagnoses and treatment received and submit it to CICA.

Other Supporting Evidence: You may also need to provide additional supporting evidence, such as witness statements or photographs, specialist medical reports, etc. to support your claim.

How is The Compensation Amount Determined?

The compensation amount is determined based on a tariff system that takes into account the specific nature and impact of the injury. We can assist with negotiating the compensation amount and ensuring that you receive the maximum amount of compensation available under the scheme. We can also check your eligibility to make a CICA claim and also advise you the approximate award amount you might receive from CICA.

Can I File a CICA Claim & Receive Compensation if The Offender is Not Convicted?

Yes, you can still file a CICA claim and compensation may still be payable even if the offender is not convicted. Remember you have two-year for making a compensation claim under the CICA scheme, although exceptions may be made in cases where the injury was not immediately apparent or where the victim was a child at the time of the crime. Exceptions may be made for historic sexual abuse cases else you should have a good reason for delay in making a claim.

Can I Receive Compensation if I Was Injured Outside the UK?

To be eligible for compensation through the CICA, the crime must have occurred in England, Scotland, or Wales. If you were injured outside of the UK, you may still be eligible for compensation through other schemes or compensation programs but not from CICA.

How do you know if you are eligible to make a sexual assault or sexual abuse compensation claim with CICA?

In order to apply for compensation from the CICA following a rape or sexual assault incident, you need to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You must have reported the rape or sexual assault to the police and have crime reference number;
  • The police must be able to investigate thoroughly with your full cooperation;
  • You must submit your claim to the CICA within 2 years of going to the police*.

*It may be possible to claim after the deadline where the victim suffers from mental health problems or has an exceptional reason for any delay in submitting the claim.

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What Is the Process For Criminal Injury Compensation Claim?

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;

Process:

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.

Appeal Documents:

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.

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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