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How Long Does A Criminal Injury Claim Take To Make? – How Long Will I Take To Claim Compensation?

By Olivia Fitzpatrick. Last Updated 9th July 2021. Welcome to our guide, which will address the question ‘how long does a criminal injury claim take?’.

If you’ve arrived at this guide, you may already know that if you suffer an injury during a violent crime, then you could receive compensation. In some cases, that could be paid by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

Criminal injury claim

Criminal injury claim

We’ll look at the types of crime that could lead to a claim, the injuries that could be compensated and what compensation could be paid. We’ll also look at timescales for completing a CICA claim. In general cases, the process can take around 12 to 18 months to complete. However, we’ll look at what factors could mean a claim takes a bit longer than normal to complete.

Legal Expert could help you begin a CICA claim today. We provide free legal advice on the claims process and offer a no-obligation assessment of your claim. Should your claim appear viable, you could be referred to a specialist solicitor to help you. If they work with you, it’ll be on a No Win, No Fee basis.

If you’d like to start a claim right away, please give us a call on 0800 073 8804. If you’d like to find out more information in the meantime about claiming through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority before calling, please continue reading.

How long does a criminal injury claim take?

As you may be aware, criminal injury claims have a time limit of 2 years within which they can be made. This means that if you want to seek compensation for criminal injury, you can only do so up to 2 years after the date of the crime or the date that you realised you were affected as a result of it.

If you’re asking ‘how long does a criminal injury claim take?’, we’re afraid that the answer isn’t exactly clear-cut. When making a claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), you can typically expect to receive a payout from successful cases within a period of 12 to 18 months.

However, please keep in mind that every case is different. Ultimately, the time your claim takes to process depends on how complex it is and how much compensation you’re seeking. Often, claims that are worth more in value are more time-consuming as the stakes are higher. Another reason for this is that high-value claims are usually made in cases of more severe injury or illness, meaning extensive medical assessments must be made to evidence them.

To see whether you could be entitled to compensation and learn how our panel of specialist solicitors could help, please get in touch today for a free consultation. In the meantime, to learn more about criminal injury claims, please read on.

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A Guide On How Long Criminal Injury Claims Take

The CICA is a government department that can provide compensation to people who’ve been injured during a violent crime. They have different eligibility criteria to personal injury claims and you’ll usually receive less compensation. However, a CICA claim may be the only route available to you if the criminal doesn’t have the means to compensate you themselves.

To address how long a criminal injury claim takes, we’ll look at what damages you can claim for. These include physical and psychological injuries as well as some financial losses. We’ll also look at the time limit for claiming which, importantly, isn’t the same as the personal injury claims time limit.

The guide on the CICA website explains that they have to prioritise claims as they handle a large volume each year. In general, they’ll deal with older claims first, but some easier claims can be settled sooner. They suggest that the CICA claim waiting time in 2020 is around 12 months. In our experience, that could be a little bit longer and take around 18 months, in some cases.

The process of making a CICA claim is different from that of a personal injury claim. While it’s designed to be straightforward, you are allowed to get specialist support from a solicitor. We advise you to seek legal advice as soon as possible because of the reduced time limit for claiming.

Also, a solicitor with experience of CICA claims will try to ensure you’re compensated for everything you’re entitled to. That’s important because once you’ve settled a claim, you’re unable to go back and ask for further compensation.

When you’ve finished reading this guide about how long a CICA claim should take, if you have any questions, or you are ready to begin a claim, please contact an advisor.

What Is A Claim For A Criminal Injury Or Assault?

You could be eligible to claim compensation if you’ve been injured during a criminal act against you. Depending on the nature of the crime, you could claim for physical injuries, psychological injuries and also financial losses that are linked to your injuries.

There are a couple of different ways in which you could claim compensation following a criminal injury. These are:

  • Where compensation is awarded by a criminal court after the criminal has been convicted.
  • Or through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

One of the conditions of a CICA claim is that you have looked at other avenues of compensation before claiming. This can include the criminal courts, or some financial expenses could be covered by the benefits system or through the NHS.

In many cases, the criminal won’t have the means to compensate you themselves, so the CICA scheme could be possible.

We’re often asked, “How long does it take for a criminal injury claim to be settled?”, and the truth is cases vary depending on their complexity. For instance, if you’ve fully recovered from your injuries at the time you claim, CICA may settle sooner because they know the true extent of your suffering. If you are still undergoing treatment, they may wait for it to be completed or for a prognosis to be provided before settling. Our solicitors can give you an estimate of how long they think your claim will take once they’ve discussed your claim with you.

What Criminal Injury Claim Time Limits Should I Be Aware Of?

As well as wanting to know how long does a criminal injury claim take, our clients often ask about the time limits for claiming. 

The rule of thumb for CICA claims is that you must apply as soon as it is reasonably practical to do so. For claimants who were an adult at the time of the crime, this should be within 2 years of the incident or 2 years from the date of knowledge about the injuries. However, this can be extended in some cases where:

  • There were exceptional circumstances for complex cases which prevented the claim being made sooner; and
  • Where the medical evidence that supports the claim means there’s no need for extensive enquiries to be made by CICA staff.

Something important is that you don’t have to wait for a criminal prosecution to have finished before claiming. In many cases, this won’t be deemed as an exceptional circumstance which would extend the time limit. The CICA will try to finalise your claim, where possible, regardless of the outcome of criminal prosecutions.

If you are outside of the two-year time limit, our solicitors could help you provide the necessary evidence so that CICA consider your claim. Please contact us for further information.

For crimes made against a child before they turn 18, claims can be made by parents or guardians on their behalf. While the two-year time limit doesn’t apply, CICA’s advice is to begin as soon as possible while all of the relevant information is still fresh in the mind. Where a claim doesn’t happen, the victim has two years from their 18th birthday to begin their own claim.

What Are Claims Made Though The CICA?

The CICA is a government-backed department that can provide compensation to those injured during a violent crime. We’ll look at what types of crime are included later in this guide. In this section, we’ll look at some of the eligibility criteria for making a claim through the CICA scheme.

The key phrase in the CICA scheme’s eligibility criteria is that you need to be a ‘blameless victim of violent crime’. That means that you had no control over the situation, and you didn’t aggravate the criminal in any way. Other criteria for the scheme include:

  • The crime needs to have happened in England, Scotland or Wales (or some other relevant places).
  • The crime must be reported to the police as soon as you were reasonably able to.
  • If the criminal hasn’t been identified, you could still claim but you must’ve co-operated with the police to help them try and catch the criminal.
  • Should you have any unspent criminal convictions, your claim might be refused. The more serious your crime (for instance where you served a custodial sentence), the more likely you are to be turned down.

If you require more advice about whether you’re eligible to claim via the CICA scheme, please contact a member of our claims team for free legal advice.

What Criminal Injuries Could I Claim For?

The CICA explains in their documentation that there is no legal definition of a ‘crime of violence’, so which crimes could make you eligible for compensation? Here are some examples:

  • Assault, such as grievous or actual bodily harm, a mugging or robbery.
  • Sexual assault or rape.
  • Historical abuse.
  • Arson or fire-raising.

The key point is that to be eligible to make a claim, you’ll need to have been injured during the crime. As well as physical injuries, it’s possible to suffer psychological injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, which could also entitle you to claim. Also, the threat of violence during a crime, when none was used, could also entitle you to claim if it caused you to suffer.

How Long Could It Take To Receive My Compensation?

When we began this guide, we set out to answer the question, “How long does a criminal injury claim take?”. As we mentioned in the first section, you should expect it to take between 12 and 18 months. However, if your claim is particularly complex or is of high value, it could take much longer.

For instance, if a crime causes somebody to suffer injuries that require permanent care (or long-term care), the case might not be settled until the full implications are understood. The CICA might be able to provide interim payments in these cases. Your solicitor would need to work out your requirements and request this to happen.

Some sexual assault claims can be fast-tracked and completed within 8-weeks. For that to happen, the claimant would need to agree that CICA staff use police evidence only. This might be suitable for those who’ve suffered physically and not psychologically.

The next question we’re usually asked is “how long do CICA take to payout once accepted?”. In normal circumstances, you’ll need to let CICA know you’ve agreed to accept their offer and then you’ll receive payment within about 4 weeks.

What Delays Could There Be To A Claim Or Payment?

Any claim that the CICA needs to investigate could be delayed by evidence gathering. This could be evidence from medical professionals or from the police. Waiting for this information could lead to a delay which is beyond the CICA’s control.

Cases where the alleged criminal hasn’t been convicted might mean the CICA need to request information from the police. Although the lack of conviction won’t stop you claiming, it will add an extra layer of investigation which could cause delays.

Finally, as mentioned earlier, if a victim has a long-term injury or illness, a claim can’t be settled until the needs of the victim are fully understood. Our solicitors could help by asking for interim payments from the CICA in these instances.

Criminal Injury Claims Compensation Calculator

Now that we’ve answered the question, “How long do criminal injury claims take?”, it’s time to look at compensation amounts. There is a big difference between the way CICA claims and personal injury claims are compensated. For instance, where you’re claiming through CICA for multiple injuries, if your claim is successful, you’ll receive 100% of the compensation tariff for the first (most serious) injury, 30% for the next and 15% for the third. In personal injury claims (made against the criminal directly), you’d be paid fully for each injury.

In this section, rather than using a personal injury claims calculator, we’ve provided the table below which contains examples of CICA payouts for different injuries.

Updated July 2021.

Claim TypeCompensation AmountFurther Information
Mental Injury£4,380Injuries that have been diagnosed by a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist which lasts between 2 and 5 years.
Brain Damage£14,380 to £40,410Slight brain injuries which result in personality change, intellectual deficit, an effect on the senses and some dependence on others.
Ear Injury£1,000Injuries which result in both ear drums being perforated.
Fractured Jawbone£6,060 to £8,200A fractured jaw which causes significant ongoing disability even after an operation.
ElbowUp to £11,820Where both elbows are fractured or dislocated and cause significant ongoing problems.
Lung£2,060 to £5,000A single collapsed lung.
Hip£36,770 to £49,270Injuries where both hips are dislocated or fractured but they both recover substantially.
Foot£12,900 to £23,460A continuing significant disability caused by fractured tarsal bones in both feet.

The figures shown are taken from the criminal injuries compensation tariff 2020. Given compensation is paid based on the severity of your injuries, it’s important that your solicitor can demonstrate the exact nature of your suffering.

Therefore, as part of the claims process, they’ll arrange for you to visit a local medical specialist. They’ll assess your injuries, ask some questions and review your medical notes. They’ll then produce a report which will explain what injuries were sustained, how you suffered and whether there is likely to be any ongoing suffering.

Criminal Injury Claims For Special Damages

The first part of a criminal injuries claim is known as general damages. This is designed to cover any pain, suffering or loss of amenity caused by physical or psychological injuries. In the previous section, the table provides some CICA compensation amounts for general damages.

Another thing you can claim for through the CICA scheme is known as special expenses. These are used to try and reimburse you for any financial losses caused by your injuries. In a normal personal injury claim, you can also claim special damages but with CICA claims, you need to show that they were reasonable, necessary and caused directly by your criminal injury. Furthermore, you’ll need to show that you couldn’t claim the same cost from another source such as the benefits system or the NHS.

Here are some of the special expenses you could claim through the CICA scheme:

  • Medical bills. If you need to pay for medication, prescriptions, or any sort of treatment, this could be reimbursed.
  • Physical aids. If your injuries mean you require a walking aid like a stick or wheelchair, the CICA could cover the cost if it’s not available from the NHS.
  • Modifications to the home. Should you end up disabled as a result of your criminal injuries, you might require some modifications around the home to help you cope. If that’s the case, you could include the cost in your claim.
  • Property Damage. If any item of your property was damaged during the crime, you might be able to claim the cost of repairing or replacing the item.
  • Loss of earnings. You could also claim back the cost of any loss of earnings if you had to take more than 28 weeks off work as a result of your injuries.

Funeral costs, care costs and other expenses could also be included. Your solicitor will help calculate your losses with you before submitting a claim. 

Proof Of Financial Losses

To claim for these special expenses, you’ll need to provide evidence to the CICA. This could be in the form of receipts, banks statements or wage slips. It is advisable to speak with your solicitor before committing to any large expense. They may be able to clarify whether you could claim it back or not.

No Win, No Fee Claims For Criminal Injuries And Assaults

We know that potential claimants often worry about the costs involved with making a compensation claim. To alleviate that worry, our solicitors provide a No Win No Fee service for all claims they take on. This should give you the confidence to pursue the compensation you could be entitled to with reduced financial risk.

The solicitor will begin by reviewing your claim with you. They’ll work with you to decide whether the claim is viable or not. If they are happy to proceed, they’ll prepare a No Win, No Fee agreement for you to sign. This contract is also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA.

The CFA will clearly explain how the financial risks are reduced. It will state that:

  • You won’t pay any upfront fees for the claim to begin.
  • There are no payments required during the claim.
  • And if the claim is unsuccessful, you won’t pay any of your solicitor’s fees.

In cases where the solicitor wins the claim, and you are compensated, they might ask for a small contribution towards their costs. This is known as a success fee which is a percentage deducted from your compensation before it’s paid to you.

Don’t worry too much about success fees as you’ll know what the percentage is right from the start, and they are legally capped too.

If you’d like to find out whether you could be eligible to use our No Win, No Fee service, please speak with an advisor today.

Start Your Criminal Injury Claim

We hope that you’ve found this guide helpful and informative. We also hope that, if you’ve decided to begin a claim, you’d like Legal Expert to help you. If that’s the case, here are our contact details.

  • The easiest way to begin is to call our team of advisors on 0800 073 8804
  • Alternatively, you could connect with an online advisor via our live chat feature.
  • You could send details of your claim to info@legalexpert.co.uk.
  • Or you could begin your claim online by completing our claims form.

We’ll begin by assessing your claim’s viability with you. We’ll look at what happened, who was to blame and whether you meet the CICA eligibility requirements.

You could then be referred to one of our specialist solicitors who’ll work on a No Win, No Fee basis. They’ll be available throughout your claim to provide regular updates and to explain any complex jargon as your case progresses.

Essential References

We hope you now understand the claims process and have all the information you require. To provide further assistance, we’ve linked to some more of our guides as well as some links to external content which we hope you’ll find useful.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority – The government’s CICA website which explains how to claim through CICA.

Victim Support – A charity in England and Wales that supports those affected by crime and traumatic events.

CrimeStoppers – This charity aims to give people the voice to stand up and stop crime from happening.

Criminal Injury Claims – Our guide that explains how a personal injury solicitor could help with the CICA claims process.

Historical Abuse Claims – This guide looks at how you could claim, through CICA, for historical abuse.

Claiming Without A Conviction – Finally, a guide that explains the claims process when nobody has been convicted of the crime in which you were injured.

How Long Does A Criminal Injury Claim Take FAQs

What is a criminal injury?

This is any violent injury with the cause being a criminal act.

Could the instigator be arrested for causing a criminal injury?

Yes, because they are committing a crime by hurting another person.

What should the victim of a criminal injury do first?

The immediate priority is to receive medical treatment.

What is the next step?

From there, it’s about making a claim via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

What crimes can the CICA help with?

The Authority are able to manage claims for any severity and type of injury.

How long does such a claim take?

It can take around 12-18 months for the claim to reach its conclusion.

What are my chances of winning this claim?

So long as there is strong evidence, you should have a high chance of winning your claim.

How long might it take to receive my settlement?

Once a final decision has been made on your claim, it should take no longer than 14-28 days to receive your compensation.

Thank you for reading our guide covering how long does a criminal injury claim take.

Written by Hambridge

Edited by Billing

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