Assault victim receives 'ten times' expected compensation

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Assault victim receives 'ten times' expected compensation

28th August 2015

An assault victim who sustained a serious brain injury has received more than £300,000 in compensation after seeking specialist legal advice – ten times the amount he was expecting.

The young man was assaulted as he made his way home from a nightclub in 2007, in a vicious attack which left him hospitalised for almost two weeks. He spent two days in a coma in the intensive care ward, and was only released home on the proviso his family would care for him.

“Although there was CCTV footage of two youths attacking him, the perpetrators were unfortunately never identified,” said John Hutchings, a specialist criminal injuries lawyer with Fentons, part of Slater & Gordon. “This meant that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority represented this man’s only chance of securing compensation for his injuries.”

Victims can apply to the CICA – the system set up by the government to ensure that victims of violent crime had the opportunity to seek compensation even when no offender is identified or caught – through an online form. When the injured man looked into the process, and after reading the relevant guideline information, he believed the suggested ‘tariff’ for his level of injury was somewhere in the region of £30,000.

“Whilst the CICA provides a valuable service to the victims of violent crimes, the system only allows for an application to be made once,” said John. “In the event that circumstances change, injuries worsen or as is most common, something has been missed off the forms or not taken into consideration, a victim cannot then go back and add these in.”

Fortunately, the victim in this case decided to consult with a legal specialist before submitting his application.

“When I spoke with him it was apparent that the injury would have had a huge impact on his future ability to earn, and this was something that had not been factored in to his claim,” said John. “His injury ultimately forced him to leave his well-paid job and set up a small business of his own, doing work which although was within his abilities did not have the same prospects or potential to earn. Although the government’s reforms of the CICA scheme last year have capped loss of earnings awards at statutory sick pay rates, because this claim was submitted before then we were able to factor in the full impact this injury would have on his future career and ability to earn a living.”

For more than five years, John continued to argue the case with the CICA, compiling evidence and reports from medical experts to demonstrate the long-term impact the attack had on his client. “Throughout this time we secured more than £16,000 in interim payments to help my client meet his living costs,” said John. “After proving the severity of the injuries and demonstrating the damage done to his ability to earn in the future, we were able to settle his claim for a gross amount of £316,639.

“This is a stark reminder to any victim considering making an application to the CICA, that although the process is straightforward to enable victims to make claims themselves, in many cases it is still important to seek expert legal advice,” said John. “My client was thrilled with his award, but was also hugely relieved. He told me he would have simply filled in the form and taken whatever damages he was given, without realising that his injury entitled him to more than ten times that sum.

“Whilst no amount of money can make up for the uncertain future he now faces, thankfully he has received substantial compensation which will go some way to ensuring he can look to that future without having concerns over his financial security.”

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in helping victims of violent crimes and their families make applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.