The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS) is a government funded scheme intended to compensate the innocent victims of violent crime whose lives have been seriously disrupted through no fault of their own. This includes people who have suffered head injuries as a result of crimes of violence.
Generally speaking, if you or a member of your family is the victim of a violent crime, then you may be entitled to claim for compensation for your injuries – whether physical or psychological. Substantial sums can be awarded, up to a maximum of £500k.
Very specific conditions and time constraints govern which claims are considered, and your Brain Injury Group solicitor will be able to advise on eligibility and making a claim under the scheme.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme for people with brain injury
If you, or someone you know, has sustained a brain injury as a result of a violent crime by a third party, it is possible to claim compensation via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.
These claims are dealt with in a different way to, for example, if a brain injury was sustained by way of road traffic accident, where the claim would be against the third party’s insurance company.
The current scheme, introduced in November 2012, is based on a pre-designated tariff with amounts awarded in respect of physical and/or psychological injuries, from a list contained within the Scheme.
What can be claimed through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme?
Psychological and psychiatric damage tends to be a common feature for many victims of violent crime and often accompanies brain injury. Awards can be made for up to three different injuries, but no more than that, with 100% of the amount listed in the tariff for the most serious injury, 30% for the second most serious injury and 15% for a third injury. For brain injury, depending on the severity, the awards range from £1,500 up to £250,000.
In addition, compensation can be granted for loss of earnings or earning capacity, but only if an applicant can demonstrate a work history or a good reason for not having one and has been absent from work for more than 28 weeks and is virtually unable to work. The sum recoverable has been restricted to the equivalent of state statutory sick pay.
A further award can be made for what are called “Special Expenses”. These may include loss of or damage to property, costs associated with NHS treatment, special equipment and adaptations to accommodation. The cost of care and supervision can also be awarded where it is not available from other publicly funded agencies, and in the case of serious injury this is often the largest part of the claim for which substantial sums are recoverable.
Finally, for victims who are not able to manage their own affairs, administration costs including trust administration and the costs of the Court of Protection are recoverable.
The maximum amount recoverable for all aspects is £500,000.
Who can claim for criminal injury compensation?
To qualify, a victim must be able to show that they have suffered a qualifying personal injury as a result of a crime of violence. There is a very strict time limit of two years in which to make an application, although this can be extended if circumstances prevented the claim being made in time, such as lack of mental capacity. Awards can be refused or reduced in a number of situations, such as where the victim might have provoked the assault, where they have failed to co-operate with the police and authorities, or where they have convictions themselves. These rules are rigidly enforced by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) which refuses many claims. Refusals can be challenged, but knowledge, skill and persistence is often required.
There is a major misconception that the offender must have been caught or even convicted. In fact, the CICA only needs to be satisfied on the facts and that on the balance of probability an injury or injuries have been sustained as a result of a criminal act, even if nobody has been caught or convicted.
As a result of a case in 2016, unless someone had created a pre-existing binding legal Power of Attorney, if they lose mental capacity through injury sustained in the assault, only a Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection on their behalf has the legal status to make an application under the Scheme.
How to make a claim for criminal injury compensation
There are a variety of complex procedural and legal aspects of the Scheme. These include the preparation of the application form and ensuring that full and adequate evidence, including expert medical and other evidence is obtained by the CICA or presented to it in relation to both the eligibility of the claim for an award, and the amount of the award itself. This might include verification of police information and medical reports from neurologists and many associated professionals.
The ultimate appeal process is to an independent panel sitting within HM Tribunal Service. Again, compliance with designated Tribunal procedures and thorough preparation of evidence can be crucial, because at this point it mirrors the court litigation process.
If an award is made, the CICA will in many cases insist that some or all of it is placed in a form of trust the terms of which it will seek to dictate, even if there is a Court of Protection Deputy in place. That means that the CICA is effectively dictating to the injured person how they can spend their award. It is also likely to contain a provision that requires any unused part of the award to be returned to the CICA if the injured person were to die earlier than expected. This can be deeply upsetting for many people who apply but the terms of such a trust can be challenged by an experienced legal professional.
Whilst adequate successful compensation awards are undoubtedly to be welcomed, they are not always easy to achieve, possibly even more so in the case of brain injury than in any other type of injury scenario and it is therefore important to consider legal representation when bringing a claim under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.
Further advice on the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme for people who have suffered a brain injury
If you would like to discuss the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme in more detail, you can speak to one of our specialist solicitors, experienced in dealing with these types of claims. Please email [email protected]
With thanks to Brain Injury Group members GLP Solicitors
This section was created with the help of Neil Sugarman at Brain Injury Group members GLP Solicitors.
Neil Sugarman is Managing Partner at Brain Injury Group member law firm, GLP Solicitors, who are based in Bury but handle cases for clients nationwide. Neil has over 35 years’ experience dealing with personal injury claims and has a particular expertise in claims under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. For more information about Neil and GLP Solicitors see the Brain Injury Group profile for GLP Solicitors’ Bury office.
Find out more about the eligibility criteria of the 2012 Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme:
How can the Brain Injury Group help you?
If you’ve been affected by brain injury and need free legal or welfare advice, there are several ways to get in touch:
- Call us on 0800 612 9660 or 01737 852203
- Email us at [email protected]
- Complete this short enquiry form and we’ll get back to you