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Actual Bodily Harm (ABH) Compensation Claims

By Danielle Jordan. Last Updated 24th February 2023. After suffering from Actual Bodily Harm (ABH), you may be eligible to claim compensation. In this article, we’ll discuss how you could claim via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) or directly against the perpetrator. We’ll also address questions such as,  ‘what is GBH?’.

This guide explains the process of claiming for ABH and how our No Win No Fee solicitors could help you when making a criminal injury claim.

Actual bodily harm (ABH) compensation claims guide

ABH compensation claims guide

To get free legal advice, you can get in touch with us at any time. Our services are available 24/7 and can be accessed via the following methods:

Select A Section

  1. What Is ABH Or Actual Bodily Harm?
  2. What Could You Do If The Victim Of Actual Bodily Harm?
  3. How Do ABH Compensation Claims Work?
  4. How To Apply For Compensation From The CICA
  5. Actual Bodily Harm ABH Compensation Claim Calculator
  6. Begin Your No Win No Fee ABH Compensation Claim
  7. If you’d like to learn more about claiming compensation, why not watch our quick explainer video that offers all of the key information:

What Is ABH Or Actual Bodily Harm?

Actual bodily harm (also known as ABH) is classed as a deliberate act of intentional or reckless assault against the person. The Offences Against The Person Act 1861, Section 47 describes ABH as a distinct offence that is separate from battery or common assault. Upholding a claim of ABH depends on being able to prove that the assault directly caused harm. Battery can involve more trivial incidents with no actual harm occurring.

In addition, grievous bodily harm (GBH) is defined in Section 18 of the Offences Against The Person Act 1861 as the act of shooting or wounding another through the use of unlawful force. GBH is considered a more severe version of ABH.

In both of these offences, there’s no requirement for the assailant to have intended to cause grievous or actual bodily harm. Instead, they only need to have intended to use unlawful force.

What Injuries Could ABH Cause?

ABH injuries can include:

  • Bruises (bruised ribs or face)
  • Grazes
  • Swelling
  • Cuts
  • Minor fractures

An attack can result in a combination of these injuries. Furthermore, ABH can in some instances involve a weapon of some kind, but cases like this may be more appropriate to a GBH definition.

For more information on the injuries that could entitle you to receive ABH compensation, speak with an advisor today.

What Could You Do If The Victim Of Actual Bodily Harm?

ABH compensation can be sought from your attacker by starting with solid medical evidence. Also, detailed below are some other useful things to collect together to support your case. Don’t worry if you are unable to assemble all this. A claim can still be made either directly or through the CICA predominantly based on the principle medical proof of harm. Try to obtain:

  • CCTV footage
  • Witnesses who would be prepared to give a statement to your solicitor at a later date
  • Photographic proof of injuries or the scene
  • Police reports and crime number

Anything that you can use to support your claim of physical injury and financial harm could help you get the maximum amount you’re entitled to.

How Do ABH Compensation Claims Work?

Making a claim for ABH compensation involves taking the evidence detailed above and use it to support your claim against the other party. You can do this independently, or you can work with a personal injury solicitor to help you calculate and build your claim for compensation.

Suing your attacker directly will only be an option if you believe that your attacker has the necessary financial resources to make a payment to you. The details of harm caused can be compared with injuries listed in the Judicial College Guidelines and a general damage amount can be calculated.

In some cases, however, you may be able to make a claim against someone with vicarious liability for the attack. For example, if your employer could be considered liable for your injuries because a colleague who made repeated threats towards you was not dealt with before they attacked you, then you may be able to claim through them.

When you make a claim, you can also factor in damage to personal items, loss of earnings from time off work and medical expenses. Perhaps you needed cosmetic scar treatments or counselling to come to terms with what happened? These services may not be immediately available on the NHS and you had to pay for them yourself. If successful, you could be reimbursed for all these costs through ABH compensation.

What Is The CICA?

If you suffered injuries because you were the victim of a violent crime, you may want to know more about claiming compensation from the CICA.

The CICA is a government-sponsored organisation that can pay compensation to those who have been mentally or physically injured as victims of violent crime. If you’re not able to pursue a criminal injury claim through another channel, you could be entitled to make it through the CICA. In the next section, we look at how to make an ABH claim and how the process could vary depending on who the claim is made through.

If you would like any help with claiming criminal injury compensation, call our advisors for free advice.

How To Apply For Compensation From The CICA

Sometimes, the person who attacked you will either lack the funds to compensate you or evade detection. In cases such as this, the CICA can award victims of serious crime some form of damages. This can be paid to you without the need for the perpetrator to have been convicted, tried or even identified.

There are essential criteria for CICA claims:

  • You must report the crime to the police
  • You need to meet the residency requirements
  • Report the crime as soon as possible (there is a two-year time frame for making a CICA claim which starts from the date the crime was reported to the police.) However, exceptions can apply to the time limit that applies; get in touch with our team for more information.

ABH Compensation – Claim Time Limits

If you are making a claim through the CICA, certain time limits apply. You generally have two years from the day you reported suffering actual bodily harm to the police to start your claim.

Typically, you are expected to report the incident to the police as soon as possible unless there are exceptional circumstances that prevented this. You will be expected to prove what stopped you from making a report. Additionally, there could be exceptions made to the two-year claiming period. Again, you will have to prove what prevented you from claiming.

A different limitation period applies to claimants making a personal injury claim directly against the perpetrator. This is generally three years from the date of the incident.

If you need any help understanding the time limits, or if you would like to start your claim for ABH compensation, please call our advisors.

Actual, Bodily Harm ABH Compensation Claim Calculator

Working to their own tariff of award amounts, the CICA will assess the severity and extent of the injury with medical evidence. You will be required to submit this evidence and will be expected to cover the cost of this up to a certain point. Speak to our team for helpful advice on how to launch a claim like this with a solicitor and guidance on how long a criminal injuries claim may take. 

An excerpt of the CICA tarriff is shown below:

Area of Injury Definition Bracket and CICA Award Amount
Eyes Detached Retina – both eyes A9 £13,500
Eye Fractured orbital bone cavity requiring surgery A4 £2,400
Mental Injury Disabling mental injury, confirmed by diagnosis lasting 5 years or more but not permanent A9 £13,500
Mental Injury Disabling mental injury, confirmed by diagnosis by
psychiatrist lasting 6 weeks or more up to 28 weeks
A1 £1,000
Scarring Serious disfigurement to the face A8 £11,000
Scarring Serious disfigurement to the neck A6 £4,600
Scarring Significant disfigurement to the head A2 £1,500
Facial Bones Le Fort type fractures to face A8 £11,000
Jaw Fracture with significant, on-going disability A5 £3,500
Ears Perforated ear drums – both ears A1 £1,000

ABH victims with two or more injuries serious enough in their own right can qualify in the following ways:

  • 100% of the tariff amount of the injury with the highest value
  • 30% of tariff award for an injury with equal or second-highest value
  • 15% tariff figure for the third additional injury of equal or highest value.
  • Certain special expenses; get in touch with our team for more information on what you could receive

Applying for compensation is something that you can do independently or with the help of a personal injury solicitor. Speak to our team to discuss how the work of a lawyer could be an advantage to you when making a claim.

More Examples Of Compensation For Assault In The UK

When potential claimants ask questions such as ‘how much compensation can I get for assault in the UK?’, they may also ask more specifically if they can be compensated for anything besides the injuries they’ve experienced.

As mentioned in the previous section, you may be able to claim for certain ‘special expenses’ alongside your injuries as part of a claim made through the CICA for assault. In summary, these special expenses may cover certain costs you may have incurred as a direct result of the injuries from the assault. Only certain expenses can be covered by this payment, such as the following:

  • Property or equipment you rely on as a physical aid which was lost or damaged due to the assault.
  • Special equipment such as physical aids that you’ve purchased because of injuries you suffered due to the assault.
  • The cost of home adaptations made in response to injuries from the assault.
  • The cost of care related to bodily functions or meal preparation that you’ve received due to injuries from the assault.
  • Costs incurred from the administration of your affairs if the assault you suffered has reduced your mental capacity.

When making a claim for special expenses, you can only ask the CICA to consider them if your injuries have left you unable to work for more than 28 weeks. Also, the CICA only awards compensation to victims of violent crimes in England, Scotland and Wales.

Begin Your No Win No Fee ABH Compensation Claim

Speak to our team about the best way to start your ABH compensation claim. Whether you’re making a claim against the perpetrator directly or through the CICA, a No Win No Fee agreement can help. Engaging solicitors under an agreement such as this has numerous advantages:

  • A No Win No Fee solicitor starts work for free
  • They charge nothing as the case proceeds
  • A case that is unsuccessful requires no payment at all to your solicitors
  • A maximum deduction of 25% percentage that solicitors take applies if the case wins
  • You benefit from expert guidance throughout your claim
  • All the legal jargon is explained and you are supported throughout the case

Start your ABH compensation claim today with the right legal advice. Our sympathetic advisors can assess your case in minutes for free, with no obligation to proceed. The unique introductory service that we offer means we could connect you to a personal injury solicitor to help today. Simply:

How To Claim Compensation For Offences Against The Person

As well as free legal advice on ABH compensation claims, at Legal Expert we can help with other similar issues:

Below, you can learn more about CICA claims via our other guides:

We hope this guide on ABH compensation claims has been helpful. If you would like to know more about this topic or related subjects, such as ‘how much compensation for an assault at work can I claim?’, then please contact Legal Expert today.

Written by Waters

Published by Stocks

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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