Released On 9th Oct 2019
Can I re-open my criminal injury (CICA) claim?
Abuse specialist solicitor Samantha Robson talks about re-opening a CICA on medical grounds
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a little-known government-funded organisation designed to compensate blameless victims of crimes of violence. If you're reading this page, you've probably already been through the claims process, and you're considering re-opening your claim to apply for further compensation. If not, find out what the CICA scheme is all about and how to begin your application.
The ability to re-open a CICA case after compensation has been paid out is an aspect of the criminal injuries scheme that is sometimes overlooked. A claim can be re-opened on medical grounds if there is a significant change in your medical condition that would result in an injustice if the case were not re-opened.
Time limits to re-open a criminal injuries claim
This can be done within two years of the original award with little difficulty. If, for example, there is a change in your medical condition within two years of your award, the Authority are likely to re-open your case, provided there is sufficient medical evidence to show the deterioration in your condition.
If, say, a victim suffered an injury to one eye which caused permanent cataracts, they would be awarded £6,200 under the current scheme. If their cataract developed to cause total blindness after the award was made (and as a consequence of the original injury) their case could be re-opened.
Medical evidence would need to be obtained and they should then be able to claim £22,000 for loss of sight, meaning an increase in their award of £15,800. Of course if this meant they were unable to work and they were off work for more than 28 weeks, the Authority would also consider paying loss of earnings.
Under the latest 2012 Scheme (amended in 2019), loss of earnings is now capped at statutory sick pay, and will only be paid if you are totally unable to undertake paid work. This is a major change to earlier schemes, which paid loss of earnings according to your actual losses, or predicted loss of earnings in the case of a child who failed to reach their full potential through their injury.
Re-opening a CICA claim beyond the two-year limit
If it transpires that your condition deteriorated beyond the two year time limit, the Authority will still consider re-opening your case, but will only do so if you are able to furnish them with all the relevant information to investigate the case again.
In other words, you will need to supply copies of the documents relied on when the original CICA award was made, such as the police reports, the application itself, correspondence from the Authority and any medical reports. The onus is on you to provide this information `without the need for further extensive enquiries’ on the part of the Authority.
If the Authority agree to re-open your case, the scheme which applied at the time your original award was made will be used to re-assess your award. This is often helpful as the earlier schemes were more generous that the most recent one introduced in 2012.
“If you receive an award from the Authority, I would strongly urge you to keep safe all the papers that were used to determine your award. You never know what is around the corner and it may be that your health deteriorates as a consequence of your initial injury and you need to ask the Authority to re-open your case.”
Samantha Robson has been conducting CICA claims for many years and has a wide range of experience of the different Schemes. Since 2001, the CICA have introduced two new schemes, both of which have affected entitlement to compensation. She has gained the maximum award (£500,000) for a rape victim at a CICA Appeal.
Sam can also help you re-open your CICA case to ensure you achieve the compensation you deserve.