Do I need a lawyer to make a criminal injuries compensation claim?
You don’t need a lawyer to make a criminal injuries compensation claim, you can do it yourself if you wish.
We often advise people to make their own CICA claim. This is because legal costs cannot be recovered from the CICA, so if its a straightforward claim or one that has a low value then there is little point in incurring lawyer’s fees unnecessarily.
However, there are times when it pays to appoint a solicitor. Here are 8 reasons to do so:
1. We can recover higher awards of compensation
People are not always awarded the right amount of compensation by the CICA. We have an excellent track record of maximising the compensation that a victim of crime can recover. In one case we helped a client challenge their initial award of £16,500 which the CICA increased on appeal to £181,000. In another case, as a direct result of a key piece of legal evidence we obtained, our client received over £210,000, rather than the basic award of £22,000.
2. We provide emotional support
It can help to have an experienced lawyer by your side. Abuse survivor Brian Mynott, the author of Just Once, When I Was Little, is in no doubt that if he had his time again he would use the services of a specialist solicitor to assist with his CICA claim.
3. We understand the CICA process
Claims often fail simply because the victim does not fully understand how the CICA process works. Claims can be rejected on a technicality or victims don’t know when to seek a review of a decision. In extreme cases people can decide not to submit an application because they think, wrongly, that they do not meet the eligibility criteria.
4. We understand CICA time limits
Many CICA claims fail because the victim has failed to comply with one of the CICA’s strict time limits. However, the the legal position is often far more complex than people realise and claims can be wrongly rejected. For instance, although there is a two year time limit to submit a CICA application, the point from which the time limit is calculated will depend on the circumstances of the claim. The CICA can also agree to extend the time limit in certain situations.
5. We are experienced in drafting CICA applications and handling the paperwork
When drafting a CICA application it is crucial to include all relevant information, ensuring that all aspects of your claim are covered. Our CICA experience enables us to identify the evidence that will be required, such as an independent medical report. We also handle all the paperwork throughout the claim, which can save you a great deal of time and stress.
6. We are solicitors, not an unqualified claims management company
Because we are solicitors you have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your claim is in safe hands. We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, fully insured and have the Law Society’s Lexcel accreditation for excellence in client care. Contrast those safeguards with the position you would be in if you used an unregulated claims management company, whose charges are not likely to be much different from our own.
7. We can help out at any time. It’s never too late to involve us
Ideally if you are going to use our services you would involve us from the start.
However, if you have already submitted a CICA application yourself, it isn’t too late. We can take over your claim at any stage; even after compensation has been offered.
8. We can work on a No Win, No Fee basis
Because the CICA do not pay legal costs, if you use a solicitor then you will incur lawyers fees. To make it affordable we can usually work on a No Win, No Fee basis. This means you will not have to pay legal costs if you do not win. Our fees are deducted from your compensation if you succeed.