When claiming for criminal injury compensation claim to the CICA your case will be assessed by “decision makers” employed by the government. They will decide how much compensation you will receive based on the compensation scheme criteria and your specific circumstances.
The CICA will look at the police file to determine eligibility and they will also want medical evidence to prove that an injury occurred as a result of the crime. If you cannot demonstrate an injury was sustained, your claim will be refused.
It is not the case that you can barter with the decision makers as you would perhaps in an insurance claim. The criteria within the scheme is so rigid that you can only claim within certain boundaries for certain elements such as injury or loss of earnings.
So how can you improve on your compensation award? What steps can you take to help achieve a more satisfactory level of award?
Our CICA calculator tool contains a rough guide as to the likely compensation award you can achieve given your specific injury or recovery period. These figures are based on the CICA tariff of injuries upon which they set the award categories and levels. The calculator also highlights awards for those involved in sexually orientated crime where there is no actual physical injury. Check this before you accept any award offered by the CICA.
The CICA set the bar very high regarding medical evidence. In fact they demand consultant level evidence in many instances.
For example a common issue we come across is the scheme requirement for a psychologist or psychiatrist to diagnose any crime related mental illness. It can be very hard to get referred to a mental health consultant but our advice is that for a) your wellbeing and b) your legal claim please do your best to seek a referral if your mental injuries justify this. Many do not push to see a specialist and wrongly believe they can rely on a GP report for injuries such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The CICA will not accept evidence from a GP for this type of injury.
If you have a physical injury and are under a consultant (for example an orthopaedic surgeon), try and obtain a letter from that consultant to support your claim. Do not rely on GP evidence only.
Can a legal representative make a difference in a claim for criminal injury? If your claim is straightforward and you are not beyond your application deadline or have no serious injury / loss of earnings to consider, it is doubtful a legal representative would enhance your case. However in claims where serious injury and loss of earnings are applicable it is vital that you seek legal advice. Such claims are complex, very constrained under the scheme and subject to negotiation.
The CICA are not a charitable organisation. Nor are they an Ombudsman (many people wrongly assume so) and they will not handle your case in a way that offers you advice or guidance. You are bringing the claim and you must make your own case.
If you are claiming lost earnings you will be asked to prove your loss and also prove that you were in work prior to the incident. This can mean providing wage slips for up to 6 months or profit & loss accounts if you are self-employed.
This is quite a burden for many applicants. One easy way to obtain ideal evidence without involving your employer or your accountant is to seek a copy of your earnings from HMRC. You can apply to them for a summary of your income during the year of your claim and prior years if relevant. This is a great workaround.
If you are receiving DWP benefits for incapacity related issues as a direct consequence of a criminal injury, this is very relevant to your loss of earnings claim. Relevant in the sense that it can help authenticate your incapacity of medical evidence is light or medical treatment ongoing / incomplete.
Anyone on Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Personal Independent Payments (PIP) – the two usually go hand in hand – can illustrate a level of incapacity that has already been verified by the state. Discuss your benefits with the CICA, let them know that you are struggling and that this has been recognised by the DWP.