If you have been a victim of a crime which has caused you injury you may be entitled to compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal.
What is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal?
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal was set up on the 8th May 1974 to administer a scheme of compensation for injuries criminally inflicted as a result of a crime of violence within the Irish state. The scheme also covers loss suffered or likely to be suffered by the dependants of a victim who has died as a result of injuries which are attributable to a crime of violence.
The scheme was backdated to the 1st October 1972 and therefore from the 1st October 1972 a person who has suffered injuries and/or death as a result of a crime of violence within the jurisdiction of the Irish State can avail of remedies provided by the scheme.
What are the time limits?
As with most legal remedies, there are time limits governing the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. An application should be made to the Tribunal within three months of the incident.
The Tribunal has authority to extend this time limit in certain circumstances but we would advise all clients to make sure that the application is lodged within three months of the incident, if at all possible.
Who can claim compensation under this scheme?
Applications for compensation can be made to the Tribunal for the following categories of persons:-
The person who sustained the injury i.e the victim.
Any person who is responsible for the maintenance of the victim who suffered or incurred any expenses as the result of the victim’s injury.
Where the victim has died as a result of the injury criminally inflicted, any dependant of the victim or if the victim has no dependants any person who incurred expenses as a result of the death
A person who received an injury due to their coming to the assistance of a member of An Garda Síochána because of an unlawful attack upon the member or because the member was attempting to prevent crime or take a person into custody or in the course of a riot or threaten disturbance of the peace or in the course of an attempt to rescue a person in custody or because the Garda Síochána member was engaged in saving a human life.
What compensation can I claim?
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal is limited in respect of the compensation that it can award. There is no compensation paid for pain and suffering in respect of injuries occurring post 1st April 1986.
Compensation may be awarded for actual monetary loss suffered or likely to be suffered by the victim or the dependants of the deceased victim. Out of pocket expenses that can be claimed include medical expenses, medication, aids, appliances and equipment required due to the injuries and loss of earnings.
An applicant should also submit a statement from the Department of Social Protection setting out the benefits that have been received through the Department of Social Protection as compensation may be reduced by the value of the Social Welfare benefits received.
How do I make an application?
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal Scheme was originally set up with the intention that a person would be in a position to bring an application to the Tribunal without the necessity of legal assistance. Therefore legal expenses will not be paid.
In our experience many clients will ask us to deal with the matter, as the process can in some ways be complicated. There is a lot of paperwork to do but we at Cantillons Solicitors have considerable experience with this type of claim to ensure that all aspects of the claim are processed correctly.
The forms which must be submitted to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal are as follows:-
Application form which can be accessed on the Department of Justice Website www.justice.ie
Garda Report and a copy of your statement to An Garda Síochána if available.
Certificate from your employer regarding loss of earnings or if self employed a letter from the Revenue Commissioners.
Statement from the local Social Welfare Office.
All receipts or vouchers regarding out of pocket expenses such as loss of earnings, medical expenses, medication expenses etc.
Full and detailed particulars of the injuries suffered together with details of your treating doctors.
If there are going to be future losses such as loss of earning or loss of dependency then it may be necessary to commission an actuarial report.
If a final prognosis from the injuries is not available the Tribunal may defer making a decision until a final prognosis is available.
Where the victim is deceased, the dependants can also claim the funeral costs and it is important to advise whether or not you have received a bereavement grant or supplementary welfare allowance in respect of the funeral costs.
Who makes the decision regarding my claim?
A decision by the Tribunal on a claim is made in the first instance by an Officer of the Tribunal where the amount claimed does not exceed €250.00.
Where the claim is for a greater sum than €250.00 or where the applicant is not satisfied with the decision by the Officer of the Tribunal a decision will normally be made by one member of the Tribunal. If the applicant is dissatisfied with the decision given by one member they may have their claim heard by three members of the Tribunal.
At a hearing of a three member Tribunal the applicant will present their case and they are entitled to call, examine and cross examine witnesses. It is up to the victim or applicant to establish their case.
A member of the Tribunal staff may also make submissions to the Tribunal in relation to the case and are entitled to call, examine and cross examine witnesses.
All hearings are in private but the victim is entitled to be accompanied by a legal advisor or another person.
A decision at appeal to the three Tribunal members by means of an oral hearing is the final remedy available to an applicant applying under the scheme.
Restriction of compensation
Compensation (or reduced compensation) may not be payable in certain circumstances such as the following:-
Where the offender and the victim are living together as members of the same household at the time the injuries were inflicted.
If an applicant has not given the Tribunal all reasonable assistance in relation to a medical report that it may require or otherwise.
No compensation is payable in respect of injuries inflicted in a traffic offence except where in the opinion of the Tribunal a deliberate attempt was made to run down the victim.
If the Tribunal is satisfied that the victim was responsible either because they provoked the perpetrator or otherwise for the offence giving rise to the injuries the Tribunal may award no compensation or reduce the amount of the award where it is of the opinion that the victim was responsible or partially responsible for the offence.
Where the Tribunal is satisfied that the conduct of the victim, the victim’s character or their way of life makes it inappropriate that they should be granted a award, the award amount may be reduced or no award may be paid.
Details of all Social Welfare entitlements and benefits payable as a result of the injury must be given to the Tribunal and the Tribunal will reduce the value of the claim of the victim or the claimant to the value of the Social Welfare benefits payable.
It may happen that, as part of the criminal process, the perpetrator may pay monies or compensation to the victim. In the event that a perpetrator does pay such compensation this will be deducted from the amount of the award under the scheme.
The principal difference between the Prison Officer’s Scheme and the Civilian Scheme is that Civilian Scheme is that compensation is paid for pain and suffering for Prison Officers who are injured during the course of the their duties (members of An Garda Síochána injured during the course of their duties are entitled to bring claims under the Garda Síochána Compensation Acts 1941-1945).
Contact us at Cantillons Solicitors at +353 (0)21 -4275673 or [email protected] if you would like more information.
* In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage of any award or settlement.