How we can help you deal with criminal injuries
Before we go into the time frame for CICA claims to pay out, first you should understand what a CICA is and why it exists.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, commonly abbreviated to CICA, is a Government-run scheme that offers compensation to blameless victims of violent crime, sexual assault and abuse. On average, just under 35,000 settlements are agreed upon annually to help innocent victims to receive the support they need to get their life back on track again
To be eligible for a CICA claim, a victim must have suffered from a physical injury or psychological trauma with the severity impacting the compensation. The compensation you receive can range from £1,000 to £500,000. For the claim to be successful, the crime committed must be reported to the police. If the alleged criminal is not identified, caught or convicted, you may still be able to seek legal redress and obtain a settlement.
If there is doubt that a claim in the civil courts will succeed, it is worth considering a claim for compensation under the CICA scheme. In addition, it is worthwhile to inspect if the perpetrator has insufficient assets or insurance to meet the agreed settlement.
CICA claims are unlike criminal courts cases where verdicts are made based on being ‘beyond reasonable doubt’, instead they are assessed using a ‘balance of probabilities’ as proof.
So when should you submit a claim to the CICA?
When entering a CICA claim, an applicant has a right to submit within 2 years of the offence unless they were a minor at the time or other exceptional circumstances related to the crime. It is not necessary to wait for the outcome of a criminal trial before submitting a CICA claim. This is especially vital if the trial outcome will not be decided within the 2 year window that the applicant has a right to. Often than not, victims are advised not to submit a CICA claim before a criminal trial has concluded by the CPS or police. However, as mentioned just before, this advice poses a risk if the trial period suprasses the claim period.
If the circumstances lead to you feeling like you should take such advice to delay your claim, ensure you ask them to put the advice in writing. This can later be used as evidence to the CICA as to why your claim was submitted outside of the 2 year window.
How long does a CICA claim take?
While there is no specified time given by the CICA, they aim to make a decision on applications within a 12 to 18 month period. If the case is of a higher complexity or contains higher-value settlements, the application process can take much longer.
A higher complexity case usually involves serious injury and ongoing medical treatment where the recovery date of the victim is still unknown. As a result, a final decision on the claim cannot be made until there is a clear prognosis. However, depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to ask the CICA for an interim payment.
Certain CICA claims can be fast tracked
When it comes to sexual assault cases, the CICA aim to deal with applications within 8 weeks where the victim wants the case assessed with police evidence only. This option is usually used when a victim has not suffered from psychological damage from the sexual assault.
If an applicant has suffered from psychological injury which has been clinically diagnosed by a psychiatrist or psychologist, the process is longer. This is because a final decision can only be made through a normal application as it allows the CICA time to obtain medical evidence to support your case.
Why is my CICA claim being delayed?
When it comes to the length of assessment time for an application, it varies depending on the information that needs to be gathered from medical professionals and organisations like the police. The time it takes to receive such information can cause a large delay in reviewing an application claim. The CICA may also require evidence from the police and other organisations to help them reach a final agreement in cases where the alleged perpetrator of abuse has not been convicted. Similar to the point made earlier, if a victim is experiencing medical treatment with an unclear prognosis that will also delay the CICA in making a decision.
Once decided upon, how long does CICA take to pay out?
If a settlement has been successfully agreed up, a client must then notify the CICA of their acceptance. Within four weeks of agreement, the compensation should arrive to your bank account.
If the compensation is for a minor, the money will be held in an interest-bearing bank account until they turn 18. If the compensation is for someone who lacks mental capacity to make their own decisions, it will be held in trust for the applicant.
Can I make a claim independently?
While a CICA claim can be pursued without legal assistance, it can easily become tedious and feel drawn out. We truly believe our specialist legal advice can be the difference between a successful and rejected claim.
If you wish for us to act as an advocate on your behalf, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our claim team by filling in our online enquiry form or calling the number at the top of the website.