What if I am a victim of crime?
If you have been injured by a criminal act (for example, you were attacked), you may be able to get compensation:
- by claiming from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority; or
- if the court orders the person who committed the crime to pay you.
You can claim compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority if, for example, you were:
- the victim of an assault; or
- injured while trying to help the police after a crime was committed.
You can also make a claim if you are a close relative of someone who died in either of these ways.
You should report the incident to the police as soon as possible. You must normally apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority within two years of the incident. However, this time limit may be extended in a few cases (for example, if you are making a claim because you were abused when you were a child).
To apply, you need to fill in an application form which you can get from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (see ‘Further Help’). You should get expert help with filling in the form.
A court may also order someone convicted of a crime to pay you compensation for your injury, loss or damage.
You cannot apply for this compensation yourself. You must give the solicitor representing you as much information as you can about your injuries and losses (for example, lost earnings) so they can put them to the court. The amount of compensation will depend on what the offender can afford to pay. The most you will get is £5,000.
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- Community Legal Advice
If a product (for example, a car or a power tool) was unsafe and injured you, you're protected by the Consumer Protection Act 1987. This law also covers you if you were made ill by contaminated food bought in a shop.
If you were injured outside the UK, you usually have to make a claim under the law of the country where it happened. However, sometimes this isn't so, particularly if the person or organisation responsible is based in the UK.
If a child has been injured, the time limit for making a claim normally does not start until their 18th birthday – but you can start a claim any time before then. Someone under 18 cannot take legal action in their own right, but must have a ‘litigation friend’.
If other people have been injured in the same way as you (for example, in a plane crash or by taking unsafe medicine), it may be better for you to join with them in taking legal action. You will need to get expert legal advice about doing this.
Many people are attacked in the UK each year by animals which are kept as pets. An owner of an animal has a responsibility regarding the behaviour of the animal concerned and, if the animal attacks somebody, the owner may be liable for the damage done.
If your injury was at least partly because of another driver’s negligent driving, you can claim compensation. You can still claim compensation even if the other driver was not insured or you think they don’t have enough money to pay you compensation through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau.
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