Being the victim of a violent crime is one of the most traumatic experiences that we can go through. It can leave us with physical injuries that require treatment as well as psychological scars. If you have been hurt in a violent crime within the last two years then you could claim criminal injury compensation.
How to claim
The government administers the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. This organisation assesses the claims of people who have suffered injury as a result of violent crime from the 27th November 2012 onwards. The minimum level of compensation it will pay is £1000 with the maximum payout being £500,000.
If you are the victim then you can make a claim yourself through a government website, but many people find this difficult to complete correctly. It may bring back memories of a traumatic experience that you would rather forget. Criminal injury solicitors are experts in this field, they can make the claim on your behalf and will be committed to making it as easy and stress-free for you as possible.
There are three ways to make a criminal injury claim. You can claim against the assailant, against an employer if the injury happened at a place of work or through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
Claiming against the assailant themselves is often not the best solution as even if you win the case you are not certain to receive the damages that have been awarded to you. Your solicitor will be able to advise you which kind of claim is most appropriate for you. They will deal with your case kindly and sympathetically and will do all that they can to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation with the least inconvenience to you.
What you as the victim should do
If you are hurt as a result of a violent crime, then you must report it to the police as soon as possible. Failure to report the matter speedily, or to co-operate with the police, will be taken into account when assessing the level of compensation paid to you. Other things that will be taken into account are your behaviour before and during or after the incident, and whether you yourself have a criminal record.
If you feel that there is anything that could have an adverse effect upon your claim, then it is useful to seek the advice of a solicitor – they will be able to advise you on the level of compensation that you can expect to receive and how to maximise this payment.
If you make a claim under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority scheme you will need to have the police reference number, details of any medical treatment that you received and the details of the person who attacked you. A criminal injury claim solicitor can do all of this for you. They will also contact witnesses to gain statements, and will seek evidence and advice of medical experts if appropriate.
There are various payments that you may be entitled to: payment for injuries incurred (this is calculated according to a pre-defined tariff); payments for loss of earnings (please note however that loss of earnings during the first 28 weeks is not covered); payments for victims of a sexual offence; compensation if a loved one dies as the result of a violent attack.
If you are unlucky enough to have been the victim of a violent crime, then it is only right that you receive the compensation to which you are legally entitled. Many people do not pursue such claims because they do not know how to do it or they are scared of having to re-live a traumatic experience. You do not have to be alone – if you contact a criminal injury claim solicitor they will be on your side, they will help you claim the compensation that you deserve.