Use your head – use a lawyer

The internet makes all sorts of things accessible that would not have been possible in the past.  Conducting your own personal injury claim via the Criminal Injuries Scheme web page is one of those things.

An application can be made via their website and the CICA will then deal with the case direct with the applicant. This seems like a straight forward process for the person who has been injured but very often it isn’t.

Submitting the application form is just the tip of the iceberg. The Scheme has strict eligibility criteria and many cases are rejected straight away, for a variety of reasons. If your case is rejected there then begins the option of having to request a review so that the case will be looked at again by another case worker. The case can still be rejected at this stage too. Then there is a further appeal process where a judge will review the case and finally there may be a hearing in front of a specialised panel.

So many things can go against you if you don’t know what the pitfalls are or what should be looking for.

The CICA scheme was established over 50 years ago. The current scheme has been in place for 5 years and it contains 142 clauses and 72 pages. Like its predecessors its approach changes from time to time too. To allow your claim to have the best chance possible of success you need to understand and know the Scheme inside outside. Thousands and thousands of applications have been made, rejected and accepted over the years. An abundance of case law has developed over this time too. This has shaped and does shape the process. You need to be able to access these cases, understand them and use them. A specialist lawyer in this field will know how to obtain and present the best evidence possible on your behalf, to advise you about any potential risks to your claim, deal with these risks for you and ensure that you get the level of compensation you are entitled to.

They have the experience to advise you on whether the decisions being made about your case are fair and lawful or not. This is crucial.

Illustrating how important a specialist, experienced solicitor is Victoria Price describes the following real life example:

“ A parent contacted me to ask for advice on a CICA claim for a child. The child had been sexually abused. The parents had submitted a CICA claim on the child’s behalf. The first offer that was made by the CICA was accepted by the parents, presuming that this was a fair amount. When I reviewed this case it soon became apparent that the money they accepted was far too low for the injury caused. The child’s injuries were psychological, severe and ongoing. The award was about 15% of what the claim should have been claimed at. This is heartbreaking for parents who have already been through so much and thought they were acting in the child’s best interest by pursuing the CICA claim and by managing to secure an award. The CICA’s offer on the evidence put before them was probably correct but the potential value of this claim and the way it could have been presented is a long way from the award that was accepted. Knowledge of the Scheme is key. We have years of experience, we know how the Scheme works, we know how to present a case properly and how to make sure injured people get the most from the claim.”

Call us today about your claim.

Even if you have already started the process yourself, call us for specialist advice and representation.

Be assured that at Price Slater Gawne we won’t take large amounts of your compensation to meet our fees. You need your compensation to help you to recover from your injuries. We approach claims ethically and fairly. If through no fault of yours, we are not able to secure an award for you, we will be willing to waive our fees.