Those injured as a result of a violent crime have, since 1964, been able to claim damages. Initially the Government set up a payment scheme but in 1995 an Act was passed to give victims a legal basis for claiming damages. It is an unusual concept; the State compensating the innocent as a result of injuries of crimes from those who have committed crimes.
Legislation changes in compensation
Originally, compensation was based on principles of putting the injured party in the position they would have been but for the injury. Since 1995 things have been very different and there are now caps and tariffs for awards with the maximum award being £500,000 for the most seriously injured. Although that sounds a lot of money, in the Civil Courts damages for catastrophic injury of individuals now often exceed £10 million.
Those affected by violent crime are often no less damaged than those catastrophically damaged as a result of a road traffic accident or accident at work. Unfortunately the stark reality of modern times is that the changes of the scheme have driven down damages available and even excluded some injuries for not being ‘severe enough’. The maximum cap has never been increased since 1996 and so for those more seriously injured the lack of increase has the most serious effect.
From restitution to last resort
So the scheme has moved on from its original basis of restitution to now, being a pot of last resort or, as some have referred to it as an “expression of sympathy”. They can also be extremely complex with awards being made which are much lower than they should be. This results in careful evidence needing to be obtained so that appeals can be made. This is usually where an injured party will benefit from a specialist lawyer.
Of course there are no public resources now to keep the scheme in line with inflation, let alone where damages have moved to and as the years have gone on, the scheme has removed from it benefits and certain areas of injury have been cut back in respect of what can be claimed for loss of earnings etc.
Dean Wilson’s experience with criminal injuries compensation
Even when awards are made, they are sometimes repayable, for instance, if the Applicant dies. Dean Wilson handle a number of enquiries in connection with criminal injuries compensation applications each year. It is vital, bearing in mind the limits on the scheme to ensure that appropriate advice is sought early and claims made early, as the authority are very slow in processing applications and the sooner they are submitted the better the outcome. We are very experienced at doing this and ensuring that all the necessary information is provided from the outset which can help to prevent unnecessary delays.
Contact us if you have been a victim of violent crime
If you have recently been the victim of violent crime, then please do not hesitate to contact Alex Brown firstname.lastname@example.org and he or one of his colleagues will do all they can to assist you in bringing a criminal injuries compensation claim.