When a criminal commits act of violence against another person, causing them an injury, as well as being liable to face criminal prosecution, they are also liable to compensate their victim in damages under civil law. You can make a claim even if they are acquitted of the criminal charges at a later date. You can make a claim either in a civil action or through the criminal justice system itself or schemes linked to it.
If you are a victim of a crime what you need to do from the outset is to try and keep a record of all expense that you incur. This covers a wide variety of expenses and includes any loss of earnings/profits.
You need to keep any receipts that you received for your medical treatment or anything that shows that you are suffering a loss because of the criminal injury. You do however also need to show proof of any money you receive from the offence if you have claimed on insurance.
If you also suspect you are going to suffer future loss you will need to show that you are going to suffer future losses.
It is best to discuss this with a solicitor to ensure you keep all of the correct documentation.
What Criminal injury can you claim for?
There are a wide variety of grounds for a civil claim. These can include personal injury, theft or damage to property, losses of earnings or business profits or medical expenses. There are potentially other things you can claim for and we would advise you to check with a solicitor to confirm exactly what your potential losses you could claim for.
Once you have figured out the value of your claim you are then in a position to start proceedings in the relevant court. The court is decided by the value of your claim.
Other compensation schemes
If you do not wish to go down the route of a civil court claim then there are alternatives which are available to you. The main two that should be considered are Criminal compensation orders and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
Criminal Compensation Orders: As long as the offender is convicted then there can be a compensation order granted by the Court (be it Magistrate or Crown).This can include injury, loss and damage. To gain a compensation order you need to inform the appropriate authorities about the losses you experience. Like in a civil claim you need to be able to document all the losses you encounter, so all the receipts and evidence of loss of profit etc.
The Court will consider the financial means of the offender before it decides if a compensation order is viable. If the Court doesn’t think the offender has the ability to pay then they won’t grant the order.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority: This scheme is only applicable to victims of violent crime. In this you do not make a claim against the offender, if the offender does not have the financial means for compensation then this is probably a good route to go down. You can seek compensation for the injuries that you have suffered but there are caps placed on the compensation depending on what you have suffered. For more information on what can be claimed information can be found here.
Another good point about this route is that the offender does not need to be convicted (as you are not claiming against him) and in reality you don’t even need to now who the offender was.
There are strict time limits for submitting a claim with the CICA (2 years from the date of the crime) so it is important that you act quickly. You will not be able to claim the cost of legal representation if you submit a CICA claim, and, as complex issues can often arise, you may be best advised to contact a solicitor to talk you through your options.
If you have been a victim of crime be it either personal injury or damage to your property you may have a potential claim available to you. If you wish to contact us on 0800 014 8727 our professional team will be able to advise you on whether you have a case we can take forward on a potential no win no fee basis.