If you suffer injury as a victim of a crime involving violence then you may be eligible to apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) for compensation.
Although there are some limited exceptions, you will usually be eligible to make a claim to CICA if you meet the following criteria:
If you have previous criminal convictions for an unconnected crime, then dependant on the sentence you were given, your compensation from the CICA could be reduced or withheld.
The aim of a claim for compensation is to help put you in the position you would have been in if the injury hadn’t happened – as the government says, the CICA scheme is regarded as “society’s way of recognising that you have been a victim”. This means that you can claim different compensation for
- your pain and suffering
- your expenses and losses such as prolonged time off work (usually over 28 weeks), damaged clothing, travelling to medical appointments and even the cost of any medication.
The amount of compensation that you may be awarded will be based on levels set by the government (known as tariffs), primarily depending on
how badly you were injured
how well you have recovered from your injuries
The law says that you need to make your claim to the CICA within 2 years of the date of the crime although under 18’s have 2 years from their 18th birthday. However, it is best to get advice as soon as possible rather than leaving it until the last minute when it may be too late to complete the process.
If your injuries are not serious enough to make a CICA claim (there are minimum payments of compensation that are awarded), for example if you are a very low paid worker who is temporarily unable to work because you have been a victim of a crime, you may be able to apply to the government run Hardship Fund – your solicitor will be able to advise you.
Dependant on the circumstances of your injuries you may be able to make a claim against someone else, for example, your employer if the incident happened at work.
A solicitor can help you make a claim and advise you about the likelihood of a successful claim and the amount of compensation that you will be awarded. The solicitor will also discuss ways of funding your case with you, like “No win, no fee,” where you don’t have to pay your solicitor's costs unless you receive compensation.