Physical assault – how much compensation am I entitled to?

19th Mar 2020
Lisa Boyle

Physical assault – how much compensation am I entitled to?

If you have been a victim of a physical assault, domestic violence or sexual abuse, then you have every right to claim compensation.

Criminal injuries can often come as a shock and may have a detrimental impact on your mental health as well as physical.

Whether it is a one-off incident or a period of abuse, we are here to guide you through the process of a claim for compensation.

In general terms the options for such claims are usually either a civil Court action or a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. There are different time limits to consider for each.


How do I claim compensation for a physical assault?


The general rule for actions of negligence is that any right to claim compensation will automatically be extinguished three years from the date you knew (or ought to have known) that the negligence caused you to sustain injury unless court proceedings have been raised prior to this date.

You may have seen recently in the news that a piece of Scottish legislation has effectively removed the above time bar in abuse cases for civil actions.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is a government scheme which has its own rules in terms of the deadline for submission of a claim. The Scheme states that in general terms you have two years from the date of incident to submit a CICA claim.


Claiming compensation for sexual violence


In CICA cases involving sexual violence there are two main options. CICA consider compensation for crimes of sexual violence in recognition of the distress and mental trauma suffered.

To allow them to settle the claim quickly, and with the least possible intrusion, in some instances there is an option for fixed payments which are based on the nature of the assault. If you are eligible for this service, CICA will:

  • check your eligibility and ask the police to send them a report of the crime.
  • Issue a decision.
  • They will not need to obtain and examine your medical records.

The alternative to the above is that CICA will check your eligibility and thereafter consider the physical injuries or any disabling mental injury in full. This would involve them examining your medical records and possibly obtaining medical reports. They will also need to know more about the treatment and recovery before they can consider what compensation may be appropriate. Applications of this type take longer to finalise than the previous option but the positive side is that your injuries are more fully considered.

At Watermans we recognise how difficult, and often triggering, it can be to come forward and seek advice in this area and we are happy to reassure you that we handle these types of cases as sensitively as possible.

We specialise exclusively in claims for compensation and we are happy to discuss your options with you in more detail before you reach a decision as to whether you wish to pursue the matter further.