Injured as a result of a Criminal Act?
Did You Know That You Can Claim Compensation?
Many people are unaware that there is a scheme for the payment of compensation in circumstances where they are injured as a direct result of the following: –
- a crime of violence;
- assisting in the prevention of a crime;
- saving someone’s life.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme
The scheme is a statutory one administered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal under the auspices of the Department of Justice and Equality. It provides that compensation may be claimed in a variety of circumstances including:-
- where a person is injured and/or incurs expense as a result of a criminal act;
- where a person is responsible for the maintenance of a victim of a criminal act;
- by a dependent of a person who has died as a result of a criminal injury.
The scheme compensates a person in respect of an injury sustained where they
- are attacked;
- attempt to prevent a crime;
- apprehend a criminal or prevent an escape from custody;
- attempt to save a human life;
- come to the aid of a member of An Garda Síochána in such circumstances.
In all cases the incident must have been reported to An Garda Síochána.
Usually, perpetrators of crime do not have sufficient funds to pay the level of damages that would be awarded by the Courts under the Civil Liability Act. This scheme provides some measure of compensation to victims of crime for their injuries.
What Is Covered? What Is Not Covered?
There are some limitations on the scheme. For example, it does not cover punitive or exemplary damages or any element of “pain and suffering” but medical treatment, loss of earnings and other vouched expenses can be claimed. It does not cover road traffic accidents except where there was a deliberate attempt to run down the victim. Other limitations include where the perpetrator and victims are living together at the time of the incident and circumstances where the Tribunal is satisfied that the victim, either through provocation or otherwise, was responsible for the offence giving rise to their injuries.
The Tribunal can reduce an award or refuse a claim where it is satisfied that the victim’s character or way of life make it inappropriate that they be granted an award. Similarly, the Tribunal can refuse compensation where it is of the opinion that the victim has not provided all reasonable assistance to it.
Making a Claim
Generally an application must be made within three months of the event but the Tribunal does have some discretion in certain circumstances. Decisions on low value claims (below €317 approx.) can be made by an Authorised Officer of the Tribunal. Above this threshold, claims are decided by members of the Tribunal who are all practicing Solicitors or Barristers. Decisions of individual members can be appealed and such appeals are heard by a three-member panel.
While it is not necessary to engage a Solicitor and the Tribunal does not cover legal costs, in certain circumstances an applicant may benefit from having their application prepared professionally or from being accompanied by a professional to an appeal hearing.
This is only a very brief synopsis of the scheme. Further information is available at the Department of Justice and Equality website.
At Hughes Murphy Solicitors we offer expert legal advice on all aspects of Personal Injury litigation. To learn more, call us on 1800910 912 or submit our Contact Form to receive a call back.