Category: Criminal Injuries Compensation

What To Expect From The Criminal Injuries Compensation Process – Guest Post

  

Criminal Injuries Compensation

If you have been a victim of a crime, then you may be entitled to compensation. In most instances, the crime needs to have been committed within the area presided over by the body that administers the scheme.

In Ireland, for instance, the crime must have been committed on Irish soil or onboard an Irish ship or aircraft. There are usually two methods to get compensated for a crime:

  • Court Order – In this case, the compensation is awarded as part of the sentencing procedure. In some instances, paying compensation to the victim will allow the offender to avoid a jail sentence. Alternatively, a court order for compensation can result from a civil case raised against the perpetrator.
  • Compensation Scheme for Personal Injuries – In Ireland, this scheme is administered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal. As the name suggests, this scheme compensates for the financial impact resulting from injuries sustained as a result of a crime. (It also covers injuries from trying to prevent a crime.)

It is worth pointing out that in most countries, you can qualify for compensation under one or the other scheme, but not both.

What does the Criminal Compensation Scheme cover?

The scheme is designed to reimburse crime victims for losses incurred as a result of the crime. This falls into two general categories:

  1. Expenses and losses which can be directly attributed to a violent crime.
  2. Expenses and losses that result from trying to prevent a crime or saving a human life.

The scheme is designed to cover financial losses incurred as a result of the crime. This includes medical expenses, loss of earnings (both to date and in projected future losses) and other proven out of pocket expenses, such as travel and accommodation bills.

It should be noted that most criminal injury compensation schemes don’t cover expenses such as damaged or stolen property and general issues like ongoing suffering and pain.

What is not covered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme

Exceptions to the scheme include:

  • No compensation will be paid if the tribunal concludes you have not offered reasonable assistance to the police or the tribunal itself
  • In many countries, injuries resulting from traffic offences are not covered, although there may be exceptions such as in instances where it is determined there was a deliberate attempt to cause injury
  • Most countries will have a lower limit to the claim. In Ireland, if the claim is less than €500 it will not be considered

How to apply for Criminal Injuries Compensation

The application for injuries should be made by the victim or third parties acting on behalf of them. This may be family members, ward of the court, or by legal representation.

In cases where the injuries sustained are fatal, the victim’s dependents can apply for compensation under the scheme.

Applications should be made as soon as is feasible and, barring adequate reasons to delay, must be made within 3 months of the crime date. Where reasonable circumstances prevent this, claims can be made up to a maximum of two years after the crime. Acceptance of such claims is at the discretion of the tribunal.

To qualify, the crime must also have been reported to the relevant police force.

Do I need a lawyer to apply for compensation?

There is no obligation to use a lawyer to pursue a criminal injuries compensation scheme. However, particularly for complex or not clean-cut cases, the chances of success are greatly improved if you do use legal representation.

Many law firms specialise in fields such as personal injury claims and bring expertise to the table that can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful claim.

Conclusion

No amount of money will ease the trauma experienced by crime victims. But, at the very least, it can help to ensure that at least financial expenses are covered.

Hopefully, this simple guide will help to point victims in the right direction and help them to recover expenses and losses suffered as a result of a crime.