Friday, 28 August 2015

Compensation for victims of crime slashed

IF you have been injured as a result of a crime of violence then you can claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

Joanne Copeland

Awards of compensation are at present based on a pre-set tariff scale with those suffering more serious injuries attracting higher awards of compensation.

In order to be successful in a claim to the CICA you must have reported the incident to the police, co-operated with any investigation and your behaviour must not have led to or aggravated the situation. It is not, however, necessary for the police to prosecute the perpetrator of a crime in order for you to be eligible for compensation under the CICA scheme.

Under the new scheme, those applicants who have themselves committed crimes against others and/or have unspent criminal convictions will, in most cases not be eligible to apply under the scheme. Any claim to the CICA should be made within two years of the incident (although certain exceptions do apply, particularly with regard to children).

The new scheme will substantially reduce the number of awards of compensation made to applicants. The changes to how applications are dealt with will mean that the scheme will be directed more at those victims with more serious injuries and those that have long term or permanent consequences. Therefore those with injuries which under the new tariff scheme are deemed to be very minor are not entitled to make a compensation claim at all.

This is likely to include injuries such as a broken nose, minor burns and scarring, minor damage to the eyes and some facial injuries. In addition some painful injuries including fractures of the hand, collar bone and ribs will also be excluded from the scheme.

As well as these changes, the government is also reducing the compensation awards available for more other serious injuries, by up to 25 per cent, and is changing drastically how the CICA calculates and pays loss of earnings.

Personal injury solicitors have attacked the changes. In the vast majority of personal injury cases, victims of crime have no other means of seeking compensation than through the CICA scheme.

The changes in force seem unjust as they will, without doubt, restrict the amount of compensation which is payable to the innocent victims of crime. If you have suffered injuries as a result of a crime of violence and feel you have a genuine claim, contact your local expert, Poole Townsend on (01229) 811811 and speak to your local personal injury lawyer. Your initial appointment is free. Come and see us at our free legal surgery every Wednesday, Duke Street, 4.30pm to 6pm

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