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Claim With The CICA

Feb 23, 2008
The CICA is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, and it is responsible for administering compensation for criminal injuries in England, Scotland and Wales. It runs the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme which was introduced in 1964 to provide financial compensation from the government to victims of violent crime.

The CICA receives approximately 70,000 applications every year, and pays out more than 200 million to victims of violent crime. Overall more than 3 billion has been awarded to victims since the scheme was set up.

But who can make a claim from CICA? The authority was set up to support blameless victims of violent crime, and it had specific rules about who can and cannot receive compensation. A person who throws the first punch in a fight for example, will not be entitled to support, no matter how serious their ensuing injuries may be.

The main grounds for compensation are fairly straightforward though. Firstly, you must be a victim of a violent crime - other types of crime such as dangerous driving are not covered. Secondly, you must have been physically or mentally injured as a result. Thirdly, the incident must have occurred in England, Scotland or Wales - if you are injured aboard then the CICA cannot help you. The Northern Ireland Compensation Agency will assist violent crimes victims over there.

The injury must also be severe enough for you to qualify for a pay out. The smallest award is 1,000, and generally minor injuries are not severe enough to warrant compensation.

It is not just the victims of crime themselves who can claim though. People who are dependent on, or who are a parent, child or partner of, a person killed by violent crime may also be eligible for compensation. For more details on eligibility contact the CICA directly.

These are not the only grounds for awarding compensation however. The CICA's guidelines mean that applications are often declined to people who fail to cooperate fully with either police or the CICA's enquires. Individuals whose own conduct could have led to their injuries may also have their application turned down. There is also a two year deadline in which to make a claim, although this rule is sometimes waived if the victim was a child at the time of the attack or in the case of sexual crimes.

The amount of compensation awarded is determined by a tariff system that assigns each specific injury a fixed amount of compensation. Obviously the more serious the injuries a victim has suffered are, the more compensation they will be awarded. Pay-outs usually range from between 1,000 to 250,000, though in exceptional circumstances this can be extended to 500,000.

The CICA can take a considerable time to assess the eligibility of a claim, because as a government body they have a responsibility to ensure the validity of injuries. Their website lists the factors they take into account when considering a claim as:

* what caused the victim's injury;

* how serious the injury is;

* whether there were other contributing factors (for instance, we may have to reduce an award if a victim who suffers a back injury had previously had back problems: we can compensate only for that part of the injury due directly to the crime of violence);

* whether an award should be refused or reduced for any reason; and

* whether there is any valid claim for loss of earnings and special
expenses.
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