Victims of criminal injuries who are made a reward offer by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme are offered six times more after appeal, according to new data.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) reviewed 379 criminal injury cases which reached appeal in 2022/23. The average initial reward offered was £7,848. However, when appealed, the offer given by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) increased to an average of £47,339, which is more than six times per person.
Many victims of criminal injury will represent themselves but, without legal representation, they are less likely to be able to challenge the CICA’s decision, including whether the initial offer is fair.
Kim Harrison, the vice president of APIL, said that the data “clearly suggest victims are not receiving the compensation to which they are entitled if they don’t have legal assistance. The CICA tells victims of crime that they do not need to appoint a legal representative to pursue their claim. But these figures clearly suggest that victims are not receiving the compensation to which they are entitled if they don’t have legal assistance.”
A victim of crime is also less likely to have the knowledge to be able to argue the CICA’s decision and understand whether the original offer is a far one. They may also struggle with having the time to represent themselves and lack confidence in being able to do so.
Amber Mitchell, Partner in Serious Injury at Potter Rees Dolan – a Hugh James Business, said:
We are frequently approached by clients or their family members who have tried to pursue CICA Compensation applications directly via the CICA without legal representation, only to receive offers that seem far too low compared to the severity of the lifechanging injury they have sustained. Once we are instructed, we typically achieve much higher levels of compensation than that being offered by the CICA.
Anecdotally, the findings by APIL reflect my own and my colleagues’ experiences of dealing with the CICA, even where we are instructed by the Applicant from the very outset. The CICA’s first offer is rarely the correct offer, and it has unfortunately become almost inevitable to have to then seek a formal review before filing an appeal, in order to secure an increased award.
I hope the CICA take note of APIL’s findings and look at their processes to see why, all too frequently, their offers are too low and take steps to change this. This would benefit not just victims of criminal injuries but also the CICA themselves, who will be able to spend less time and money in dealing with these applications to tribunal stage. In the meantime, these statistics from APIL serve to reinforce the importance of instructing a solicitor experienced in CICA matters where the applicant has sustained serious, life-changing injuries as a result of a violent crime.
Amber is a Partner in personal injury here at Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about the CICA claims or indeed any other aspect of personal injury and wish to speak to Amber or any other member of the team, please contact us on 0800 027 2557 or contact Amber directly.