Injuries which are caused by criminal behaviour, such as violent assaults, often leave victims requiring medical treatment including surgery and physical and psychological therapy. Claiming compensation for criminal injuries can be essential to help access the best possible support at this difficult time.
All too often, those injured by the criminal behaviour of another party are left permanently affected. Not only can the physical damage persist, but a legacy of stress, anxiety, and social isolation may render victims unable to take part in activities of everyday living, including employment, social interactions, and hobbies.
Regardless of the nature of the criminal injury you have suffered, our specialist criminal injury solicitors will guide you and your family through the process of bringing a claim against the responsible party.
Do you have grounds for a criminal injury claim?
To bring a criminal injury claim, it will be necessary to prove:
- You were the victim of injury due to a crime (whether directly or as a witness)
- You were an innocent victim, and;
- The criminal act led to serious injury.
This means that in some contexts, it may not be possible to make a claim because there is a lack of proof that the criminal act caused your injury. One of our primary roles will be to establish if there are grounds for a claim and, if so, to create a compelling case that proves the criminal act led to injury.
If you are unsure if the circumstances of your criminal injury are grounds for a claim, please contact one of our criminal injury solicitors today who will take the time to listen to the details of your case and advise you of your legal options.
Who pays compensation for criminal injuries?
In Ireland, there are three possible routes to seeking recourse following a criminal injury:
- Applying to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal– Open to victims of crime and their dependants (where the victim has died). The Tribunal can award compensation for injuries suffered as a direct result of a violent crime or sustained while attempting to prevent a crime or save a human life.
- Issuing proceedings against the wrongdoer– Where a civil claim is brought against the offender seeking damages for the victim’s injuries arising out of the incident.
- Applying to the Garda Compensation Scheme– For members of An Garda Síochána and their dependants (where a Garda has died). Compensation can be awarded for personal injuries maliciously inflicted upon a Garda in performance of their duties, when off duty, or due to their being a member of An Garda Síochána.
When you first contact one of Lavelle Partners’ criminal injury solicitors, they will be able to advise which route would be most appropriate given the circumstances of your injury.
Speak to our criminal injury solicitors in Dublin
To find out more about criminal injury compensation claims, please contact our friendly, expert team today
How criminal injury claims work
Applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal
The tribunal considers applications from victims of crime or, if the victim has died as a result of the incident, by the dependents of the victim.
The Tribunal may make awards of compensation to people who have suffered injuries as a direct result of a violent crime or have sustained injuries while attempting to prevent a crime or save a human life.
The Tribunal consists of 2 non-statutory schemes:
- The Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted
- The Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted on Prison Officers
For ordinary members of the public, the Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted is likely to be the most appropriate option for making a criminal injury compensation claim. More information about the scheme can be found below.
Civil claims against those responsible for criminal injuries
Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to issue proceedings against the wrongdoer – whereby a case is brought against the offender seeking damages for the victim’s injuries arising out of the incident.
One potential issue with making a civil claim against an offender is that they may not have the means to pay a suitable amount of compensation. The cost of pursuing a claim must therefore be balanced against the likely outcome.
Applications to the Garda Compensation Scheme
This scheme is specifically for members of An Garda Síochána who sustained personal injuries maliciously inflicted upon them in performance of their duties, or acting in their general capacity as a member when off duty, or merely because of their being a member of An Garda Síochána.
The scheme is also open to applications by dependants of deceased members of An Garda Síochána who were fatally injured while on duty, or while acting in their general capacity as a member, or merely because of their being a member.
Find out more about applications to the Garda Compensation Scheme.
How does the Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted work?
The scheme offers damages in relation to any expenses or losses you have incurred as a result of a criminal injury – whether you were the main target of the violent crime, or you intervened to prevent the incident or assist the victim.
It is important to understand that under this scheme, there is no payment for your pain and suffering.
It is open to people who have suffered injuries as a direct result of a violent crime or have sustained injuries while attempting to prevent a crime or save a human life.
Most claimants are not required to appear in front of the Tribunal, but in some limited cases they may ask you to attend. This will be a strictly private hearing.
Low-value claims are handled by the Secretary of the Tribunal, however, in the event of an appeal against their decision, a single member of the Tribunal can be asked to review the case.
Is there a time limit on applications to the Tribunal?
Under the terms of the Scheme, applications must be made within 3 months of the date of the incident. The Tribunal has discretion to admit a late application in circumstances where the claimant can show that the reason for the delay justifies exceptional treatment.
The incident giving rise to the injuries must have been reported to the Gardaí without delay unless the Tribunal is satisfied that the victim made all reasonable efforts to notify Gardaí.
What happens when I submit my application to the Tribunal?
An application for compensation will be decided upon by a single member of the Tribunal at first instance. This is usually on the basis of the documentation provided with the application, however, you may be called to the Tribunal for a private hearing.
If you are unhappy with the decision of the single member of the Tribunal, you may appeal it to an informal hearing by 3 members of the Tribunal and you must present your case in a hearing. The decision by the 3-member panel is final.
How much will I receive under the scheme?
Assuming your case is eligible, the amount received will depend on whether the injury has caused short-term effects, long-term effects, or death. If the criminal injury has caused short-term effects, you should receive an amount which reflects your loss of earnings, and expenses including medical, medication, travel, and medically prescribed eyewear.
Long-term effects may warrant any expected future loss of earnings and expenses to be paid. This may include special equipment to assist with your daily living.
If you wish to have legal assistance and representation at any stage of the application process, you may obtain same however the Scheme does not provide for the recovery of any legal costs and any legal assistance you retain will be at your own expense.
The Tribunal may also reduce the award of compensation, or grant no compensation at all, if it holds that the applicant was responsible for the incident which led to the injuries sustained, or where the victim’s character or way of life make it inappropriate to grant an award.
Our expertise with criminal injury compensation claims in Ireland
- Lavelle Partners have successfully managed many cases of criminal injury caused by the negligence of another party.
- Our personal injury team, headed by partner, Avril Scally, who herself has over 15 years’ experience in personal injury claims, place client care at the centre of everything they do.
- From the first moment you speak to one of our solicitors, we will listen to your case carefully and with empathy and will only recommend advancing your case if we believe you have a valid case.
- We have both the legal expertise and understanding of the real-life challenges faced by individuals and their families following such events.
- Our solicitors will manage the process entirely on your behalf; compiling the information necessary for your case, including medical notes, and managing the submission of your personal injury claim.
By allowing us to handle your claim on your behalf, you can focus on what is most important, your recovery and care, or that of your family member or loved one.