On 27th November 2012 a new structure to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme came into force. Under the revised CICA scheme, the minimum value of a claim increases to £2,500 and all awards of £11,000 or less are being reduced. The ultimate aim of the new scheme is to reduce the annual cost of the compensating victims of crime by £50 million.

The government has stated that the rationale behind the new scheme is to provide support to victims at the point of need rather than providing small amounts of compensation sometime after the incident for relatively minor injuries, such as sprained ankles and broken fingers. However, the introduction of the scheme has been met with some criticism as it means that innocent victims in a variety of circumstances will no longer be able to claim. For example, children and postmen bitten by dogs and shop workers suffering injuries from armed robberies and raids will miss out.

The governmental focus is now on “seriously injured victims of serious crime’. The government has removed bands 1-5 of the old scheme which included claims valued up to £2,500. A victim who has suffered a minor disfigurement to the face due to scarring or someone suffering temporary partial deafness will thus not be entitled to claim. Bands 6-12 have been reduced by up to 60%. This covers claims valued at £2,500-£11,000 and injuries here include the loss of a finger, two collapsed lungs or the partial loss of an ear. There are also tough changes in relation to payments for loss of earnings.

Bands 13-25 are protected completely and remain at their existing levels. This means that the government is proposing to retain compensatory awards at their current levels in relation to sexual offences and serious physical abuse. We deal with cases of this nature on a daily basis at Farleys and our experience is that the CICA has adopted a much stricter approach in recent months. This has led to an increasing number of victims contacting lawyers for advice rather than submitting the claims themselves. The application process can be very complex and time consuming and there are a number of hurdles to overcome, especially in relation to claiming for psychiatric injury or in claims involving large amounts of money.

The above changes make it even more important for victims of serious crime to use a solicitor to handle their claim to ensure that they receive the maximum compensation they deserve. This specialist legal advice means that any compensatory award is amplified to include complex areas such as psychiatric injury and loss of earnings. Here at Farleys we have a dedicated team dealing with CICA claims for abuse. Do not hesitate to contact us today for advice on making a successful claim for compensation.