According to UK law, the definition of an assault is any type of physical attack on a person by another person(s) or threat to harm a person. Unfortunately, the number of unwarranted assaults on people are worryingly high. If you were harmed or injured by someone intentionally, you may be entitled to seek compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.
To find out how to go about seeking compensation for injuries sustained in an assault, what evidence would be needed to support your claim, and how a personal injury solicitor could assist you in filing an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, please read on.
- How Would I be Compensated for an Assault?
- Are There Different Types of Assault That I Could Claim For?
- What Sort of Assault Could I Claim For?
- What if My Assailant is Not Caught or Prosecuted, Can I Still Claim Criminal Injuries Compensation?
- Would My Assault Claim for Compensation to the CICA be Accepted?
- What is the Time Limit to Making an Assault Claim Through the CICA Scheme?
- What Level of Assault Compensation Could I Be Awarded in a CICA Claim?
- Can I Claim Assault Compensation Through CICA if I Have Unspent Criminal Convictions?
- What Does Blameless Victim Mean When Making an Assault CICA Claim?
- Should I Wait for a Court Case to End Before Making an Assault Claim Through the CICA?
- What is the Time Limit to Making an Application for Assault Compensation to the CICA?
- How Long do the CICA Take to Decide an Assault Compensation Claim?
- Why Would My CICA Assault Compensation Be Delayed?
- How Long Would it Be Before I Receive Assault Compensation Through the Scheme?
- Links to Helpful Websites
You have two options when claiming compensation for injuries sustained in an assault. These are as follows:
- To make an application for compensation through the Criminal Injuries Scheme
- To file a civil assault claim through the UK’s court system
You may find that after being the victim of an assault, the last thing you want to do is relive the episode which means you may not seek the compensation you deserve. With this said, there are options which make the whole process much easier to cope with. This includes contacting a solicitor who has the necessary legal expertise to handle this type of claim and who knows that advice, help, and support are essential when it comes to discussing a CICA claim with an injured party.
When it comes to assaults there are four categories in the UK and it is worth noting that you would not have to suffer any physical or psychological harm in order to claim compensation. These are as follows:
- Sexual assault – should you have been assaulted in a sexual manner without your ‘consent’, you may have grounds to file a claim and be compensated for the harm you suffered. Sexual assault includes stalking, groping, drug, and alcohol related sexual assault, rape, and child sexual abuse
The law in the UK covers three levels of assault depending on the severity of an attack and the harm inflicted on a victim. These are as follows:
- Common assault – should a person slap you or hit you but the attack does not leave you with any marks or injuries, this would be classed as a ‘common assault’
- Assault causing actual bodily harm – if your attacker assaults you and leaves you suffering from visible injuries which includes bruising, scratches, and cuts, this would be classed as an ‘assault causing actual bodily harm’
- Assault causing grievous bodily harm – should you be assaulted and your assailant intended to cause you serious harm and injury, this would be classed as the most serious of all assaults namely ‘assault causing grievous bodily harm’
If you need more information on pursuing a claim for compensation having been assaulted, you should contact a solicitor who would offer essential advice on whether an application to the CICA could be successful.
It is worth noting that every assault case is unique, however, you could be entitled to seek compensation for the following:
- Sexual assault
- Domestic assault and this includes physical and sexual assaults on minors/children
- An unprovoked assault by someone known or a stranger
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
- Shaken baby syndrome
- Assault by spouse or other member of family
- Bouncer assault
- Criminal assault
- Assault causing fatality
- Assault in a public place
- Assault in the workplace
It is worth noting that you do not have to know your assailant and it would not matter if they were charged for the assault on you by the police, you could still be entitled to seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim through the court system in the UK or through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme which is a Government-funded body that was set up so that innocent victims of violence or crime, can seek compensation for the harm and injuries they were caused.
If you are not sure whether the assault you were subjected to would qualify, a solicitor would be able to clarify this for you which they would do in a no obligation consultation for which you would not be charged.
You could be entitled to seek compensation through the CICA Scheme even if your assailant is not caught or prosecuted by the Police. However, you would need to show that you did not contribute to the assault in any way, and that you did not provoke your assailant for your application to be accepted by the authority.
Other criteria that must be met include the following:
- The assault on you caused you physical and/or psychological harm and as a result your life was negatively impacted which could include having nightmares, a loss of appetite, a fear of going out, anxiety and depression, difficulty sleeping
If you are not sure whether you could claim compensation, you should contact a solicitor who would offer valuable free legal advice on what your options could be.
If you were assaulted and you live in England, Wales or Scotland, you have the right to make an application for assault compensation to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority as long as the injury you sustained is listed in the CICA tariff of injuries.
- To be eligible, you would have to prove the following:
- That you were the blameless victim of the assault in which you were harmed/injured
- That you sustained an injury that is listed in the CICA tariff of injuries
- That you reported the assault to the Police
- That you fully cooperated with the Police during their investigations
- That you do not have any ‘unspent’ criminal convictions against you
If you have any unspent criminal convictions, the authority would turn down your application and this includes if you have an outstanding drink/driving conviction.
You would need to file your application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority within 2 years of having been assaulted. However, the authority has the discretion to extend the deadline but only in exceptional circumstances. With this said, it is wiser to contact a legal expert as soon as possible to get essential advice on how best to pursue an assault compensation claim through the CICA Scheme.
The level of compensation you would be awarded in a successful CICA assault claim would depend on the severity of the injuries you sustained through no fault of your own which could range from anything from £1,000 to as much as £500,000 which is the maximum payout the authority would settle in a successful CICA claim.
The amount you receive in a settlement would be paid out of a ‘central fund’, this is administered by the government in the UK and is made up from taxes that everyone in the UK pays into annually.
If you have an unspent criminal conviction against you, an application for compensation through the CICA scheme would be rejected. For your application to be accepted, you would need to wait until the conviction is spent and this includes a drink/driving offence. If you are unsure as to whether you do have any against you, a solicitor could check this out on your behalf before advising whether you would have to wait to make an application to CICA or whether you could go ahead providing you are eligible to do so.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority would investigate a claim and would refer to the Police report when doing so. If it is found that you contributed in any way to the assault you suffered, your claim would be turned down. Even if you chased after an attacker and they injured you when you did, the authority would not accept you as being a ‘blameless victim’ of the assault. For an application to be accepted by the CICA, you must be able to prove that you were ‘blameless’ and that you did not provoke your assailant in any way.
Should it be found that you did contribute to the assault, the authority would not consider an application through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.
Because there is only a two year deadline to making an application for assault compensation through the CICA Scheme, it is unwise to wait for the outcome of a court case before doing so. The reason being that if the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) chooses to prosecute your assailant, the Police report would not be released until the end of the trial which could last months or even years. This would put you at risk of having your claim time barred. In short, you may run out of time to seek assault compensation through the CICA Scheme.
As such, it is far better to seek legal advice from a solicitor sooner rather than later so that all the evidence which includes a Police report, medical report and other necessary proof relating to the assault to which you were subjected, can be gathered in a timely manner and then sent to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority without delay.
As previously touched upon, there is a short two year time limit associated with making an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. It is worth noting that the authority does have discretionary powers to extend the deadline but only if exceptional circumstances are linked to a case and this would need to be proved. Because CICA compensation claims tend to be challenging and because there are so many rules and criteria that must be met when applying, seeking legal advice from a solicitor with the necessary expertise in handling this type of claim, is always advised.
It is also worth noting that no one is obliged to have legal representation when making an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority but due to the strict time deadline and the necessary evidence that would be required to validate a case, it is always wiser to have a solicitor represent you from the outset. The reason being that providing sufficient evidence with an application to the CICA could speed up what can be an otherwise lengthy process.
There is not a set timescale for CICA claims for compensation to be settled although the authority does come to a decision within twelve to eighteen months. However, if your case is more complex and you suffered life-changing injuries in an assault against you which would be considered higher-value claims, it may take a lot longer to receive compensation in an assault CICA claim.
It is also worth noting that if your injuries are extremely severe and you therefore require ongoing medical treatment or therapy, your recovery date would be unknown. As such, a final settlement could not be made until a medical professional establishes a prognosis. Should this be the case, a request to the CICA can be made for interim payments which the authority may consider. It is also note worthy that specific claims can be fast-tracked.
Should your assault claim be of a sexual nature, the authority would come to a decision within eight weeks if you choose for your application to be assessed by CICA with Police evidence only, which is an option better suited to those who have not been affected psychologically as a result of being subjected to a sexual assault. If however, you do suffer from any mental issues following your assault, and your condition is diagnosed by a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist, a decision would be reached in the normal way which means that a medical report would be necessary.
There are various reasons why your CICA claim could be delayed and therefore take longer to reach a settlement. Should the authority need more information, this can slow the process down. Should your assailant have not been convicted, the authority may ask for more evidence and information from all relevant parties including the Police in order to come to a decision.
Another reason for a delay could be due to ongoing treatment or where a prognosis is not that clear. Until a final prognosis is made, a decision would not be made and this can cause a delay in receiving a settlement.
Once a final decision has been made by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and your claim is successful, the authority would need to be notified that you have accepted the settlement. Once this is done, the authority would typically pay out the settlement within 4 weeks.
Should the compensation be awarded to someone under the age of eighteen (a minor), the CICA would place the settlement amount in an interest-bearing account until they turn eighteen years of age. If the compensation is awarded to a person who lacks the ‘mental capacity’ to come to decisions on their own, the authority could hold the settlement in trust.
If you would like more information on eligibility when seeking assault compensation through the Criminal Injuries Scheme, please follow the link provided below:
If you were the victim of an assault and would like more information on how the Police handle this type of sensitive claim, please click on the link below:
For more information on the importance of cooperating with the Police when making a CICA claim for compensation for injuries sustained in an assault, please click on the link provided below: