The Importance of Instructing a Solicitor in CICA Claims
Dec 21, 2023
In England, Scotland & Wales, victims of crime can seek compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (“CICA”) for injuries suffered as a result of assault. The system is set up so that injured claimants can apply for compensation themselves on an online form, without the need for a solicitor. The questions asked on the online form are relatively straightforward, and no specific legal knowledge is needed to complete the form, but is this really the best way to ensure that the full entitlement to compensation is awarded to injured individuals?
According to data obtained by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, victims of crime who appeal initial offers made by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme end up being offered six times more than the first offer. It was reported in the Law Society Gazette recently, that in the 379 cases which reached appeal in 2022/23, an average of £7,848 was initially offered for each claim. However, when appealed, the CICA's offer in these cases increased to £47,339, more than six times per person.
APIL Vice President Kim Harrison commented on the findings and said that the data, “clearly suggest victims are not receiving the compensation to which they are entitled if they don’t have legal assistance” and that, “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.”
Legal costs are not recoverable from the CICA, and this puts off many injured victims from instructing a solicitor. It is our firm view that claimants who act for themselves are far more likely to accept the first offer than a solicitor, as they will see the CICA’s claims handler as the one with all the knowledge and will believe that the offer made is all they are entitled to. However, with such statistics suggesting that taking a robust stance and appealing the CICA’s decisions can reap significant rewards, we believe that instructing a solicitor is most beneficial in all but the simplest of claims for very minor injuries.
At Barker Son & Isherwood we appreciate the concern that victims of crime can have in instructing a solicitor when they are not going to recover a contribution towards costs from the CICA. However, we are able to offer a range of funding arrangements to suit our clients’ needs, include working on hourly rates up to a specified agreed figure, fixed fees and contingency fees whereby we receive a percentage of the final compensation awarded. We are pleased to accept instructions at the outset of the claim or to review an offer made to determine if an appeal would be appropriate. With the prospect of being up to six times more than originally offered, instructing a solicitor specialising in CICA claims is likely to be the best way to secure the compensation that is rightfully deserved.
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