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Have you witnessed a violent crime? You could claim compensation

Have you witnessed a violent crime? You could claim compensation

May 5, 2020

If you’re researching criminal injuries compensation for witnesses, this article will explore a range of topics to help you, including:

  • Why being a witness enables you to claim
  • Claiming for distresses such as depression or anxiety, as a result of the attack  
  • Different claim types, such as post-traumatic stress disorder compensation
  • Reimbursing you for a significant loss of earnings
  • Who else is impacted by witnessing a crime and why you’re entitled to compensation

As specialist criminal injury lawyers with over 30-years’ experience in serious injury law, we’re here to put your mind at ease.

Read on to learn how to make a criminal compensation claim as a witness of violent crime.

Your injuries don’t have to be physical to claim for a violent crime

If youare awitness of a criminal attack,you could be entitled to psychological trauma compensation.

Those who fall victim to a physical attack will have painful, visible injuries. But, witnesses to a violent crime are also likely to be disturbed by the incident, from seeing the criminal attack take place to reliving the incident afterwards.

Being traumatised by the attack is an unfortunate but common outcome of witnessing a violent crime, and more importantly, it is possible to make a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) after witnessing a violent crime.

To qualify, you must demonstrate that you have suffered psychological harm as a result of being caught up in the criminal act.

Some examples of the psychological symptoms which can arise include, but are not limited to:

  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Hyper-vigilance
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Feeling afraid to leave the house
  • Anxiety about visiting busy places
  • Being unable to leave your home
  • Disturbed sleep

For a successful application, you must prove the incident has significantly affected your life due to the mental trauma you have suffered. The process may involve a CICA assessor considering whether your mental state resulted from, or was exacerbated, by the incident, and will also consider your relationship to the victim.

It is recommended you see your GP if you believe you have or are suffering from psychological damage as a result of witnessing a violent crime.

Your entitlement to criminal injuries compensation
Being traumatised by the attack is an unfortunate but common outcome of witnessing a violent crime

Has witnessing a violent crime impacted on your finances?

There’s no doubt witnessing a violent crime will have a significant impact, both on yourself and those closest to you. As well as picking yourself up and talking about the experience with people you can trust, there’s the added weight of continuing life as before. 

Aside from receiving compensation towards physical and psychological injuries, CICA can make payments related to other aspects of loss arising from being victim to a violent crime. You can also receive payments towards loss of earnings if you are left unable to work as a result of the crime you witnessed.

To support this, you would typically need to provide documents such as payslips or a P60, which account for your earnings in the period immediately before the incident.

  • For self-employed people, you may be asked for copies of tax returns or correspondence from HM Revenue & Customs
  • To claim for loss of earnings, your injury must be serious enough to result in an inability or very limited capacity to complete your work
  • The loss of ability to work must last longer than 28 full weeks.
  • You cannot receive loss of earnings for the first 28-week period, and the payment will be calculated from this point
  • The CICA Scheme also considers claims for ‘special expenses’. Unlike loss of earnings, this is paid from the date of the incident if you are eligible to receive it
  • ‘Special expenses’ are expenses which are necessary and incurred as a direct result of the criminal injury
  • Some examples of the equipment attributable to special expenses could be walking aids, wheelchairs, walking sticks, spectacles etc
  • The Hardship Fund was introduced by the Government to provide temporary relief to those whose injuries are not serious enough to fall within the categories of injuries laid out in the CICA Scheme

At Fletchers Serious Injury, we understand what it means to witness violent crime as well as the financial impact you may carry.

If you’re interested in knowing how you could be entitled to loss of earnings compensation following a violent crime, our legal team is ready to hear from you.

How much could I claim for psychological damage?

If you have witnessed a violent crime, you can make a claim for psychological damages. However, there are certain criteria that must be met before the claim can be established.

The criteria does not include temporary mental anxiety, nor other similar temporary conditions.

For the purposes of claiming for psychological damage under the CICA scheme, an applicant will have suffered from a disabling trauma that impacts on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, confirmed by a consultant psychiatrist or psychologist. In order to claim for psychological damage, the issue should fall within one of the brackets below:

  • Lasting 6 weeks or more up to 28 weeks: £1,000
  • Lasting 28 weeks or more up to 2 years: £2,400
  • Lasting 2 years or more up to 5 years: £6,200
  • Lasting 5 years or more but not permanent: £13,500

Permanent mental injuries, confirmed by diagnosis or prognosis of psychiatrist or clinical psychologist will fall under the following brackets, namely: –

  • Moderately disabling: £19,000
  • Seriously disabling: £27,000

Why choose Fletchers Serious Injury to represent your claim?

Without expert legal guidance, it can be a daunting thought undertaking criminal injuries compensation for witnesses allon your own. As well as cutting through the long and complicated red tape yourself, you’ll come up against a barrage of jargon-fused communication.

Ultimately, you don’t have to start your claim alone.

As serious injury specialists, we have built a portfolio of clients across the UK. We have the expertise and the empathy required to successfully represent claimants who have witnessed violent crime.

With any claim we take on, you can concentrate on your road to recovery and leave the complications of the claim itself to us.

If you are a witness of a violent crime, our established relationship with CICA will place your claim in a strong position.

CICA pays out criminal injury claims for a number of reasons, including but not dependent on:

  • The severity of any injuries you witnessed
  • The current or lasting psychological impact of witnessing the crime
  • Your loss of earnings

As a government body, CICA requires certain rules and procedures to be followed during criminal injury compensation claims. Consequently, our legal professionals are adept at navigating through any choppy legal waters.

Once your claim starts with us, rest assured, our criminal injury solicitors will guide you through every step of the claims process to help you secure the compensation you deserve.

If you witnessed a violent crime that left you psychologically affected, you can make a criminal compensation claim. call our expert lawyers today.

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