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Are criminal injuries being under-compensated?

By Maria Dallas


It’s bad enough that someone suffers a traumatic and serious assault or other criminal incident that leaves them suffering severe injuries and long-term effects. But imagine them then being offered an insufficient level of compensation because their claim has been assessed incorrectly or their claim has not been investigated properly.

Man looking out of hospital window

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has provided data which shows that a number of victims and survivors who apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) for compensation are being awarded unreasonably low amounts of compensation.

The CICA is a government scheme that is in place to provide innocent victims and survivors of violent crimes with compensation when there is no other source. The scheme follows a very strict and stringent process, where applicants complete a set application form (which is the same regardless of the type of incident or injury) and their injuries are assessed alongside a tariff system, which categorises injuries by parts of the body and severity level.

In some circumstances it is possible to claim loss of earnings, care, treatment and equipment, but again the rules are strict, and it is hard for those applying to know if an offer is fair. The CICA will sometimes obtain information from the police or the applicant’s GP to assist with the application before the claim is assessed and an award offer made. The CICA process can be long and is subject to administrative delays.

Whilst this sounds reasonable in principle, in reality it can often be far from fair or appropriate, especially when dealing with complicated circumstances and serious injuries. It can mean that key information is not obtained, and applicants do not receive the compensation they should be entitled to. It is possible where appropriate to apply for a written review, and then an appeal hearing if necessary.

The APIL data suggests that in 2022/2023, in a sample of cases that reached appeal (379), those suffering injury were initially offered an average of £7,848.00. Following appeal, the average offer was increased £47,339 an increase of 503%!

The CICA advises applicants that they do not need legal representation to pursue a claim under the scheme and will not pay towards legal costs when legal representatives are appointed. However, without legal representation, especially in serious cases, it is likely that victims and survivors will not be awarded the amount of compensation they are entitled to and would likely not have the knowledge or confidence to be able to challenge the CICA about the award offer made.

Serious questions have been raised regarding how the CICA treats those applying for compensation. These people have often been through the most terrible experiences already and are still living with the aftermath. A low offer from the CICA, after a long application process, just feels like another kick when they are down.

So how can we help?

We have a number of lawyers across our Personal Injury department that have experience in dealing with CICA applications for compensation. They can help with all levels of injury and can become involved in the application process at various stages. We can normally assist on a No Win No Fee basis.

If you would like to discuss making a CICA claim or have an ongoing claim that you would like help with, call 01302 320621 or email

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Maria has been working in Personal Injury for 13 years.  She qualified as a Legal Executive in February 2019.

Chartered Legal Executive

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