Can I Make a Claim as a Witness?
We specialise in helping victims of injury claim the compensation they may be entitled to
If you have witnessed a violent crime, then you may feel lucky to walk away physically unscathed. However, if you see the horror of a criminal assault or violent crime, it can have a lasting legacy which taints your peace of mind. It may also make it difficult for you to feel safe doing something as ordinary as leaving your home to go to work.
Claiming compensation for the psychological damage witnesses suffer is not easy, but with the help and support of the personal injury lawyers we work with at The Compensation Experts, it is possible.
What is a Witness Claim?
To claim compensation from the effects of being a witness, you must demonstrate that you have suffered psychological harm due you innocently being caught up in a criminal act such as an assault or armed robbery. You were in the wrong place at the wrong time, which means you saw something which gives you nightmares and affects your ability to live your life as you did before you witnessed the event.
Results of witnessing a shocking crime can include:
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- An inability to sleep or nightmares
- Fear and phobias, like agoraphobia
- Hypervigilance and symptoms of OCD
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority was established by the Ministry of Justice to handle compensation claims from people physically or mentally injured from witnessing a violent crime. The CICA pays compensation. This is because, even if the police catch the perpetrator, they are highly unlikely to have access to sufficient funds to pay your compensation, and there is no liability insurance that covers criminal acts.
The minimum payment CICA consider is £1,000, rising to £500,000 for victims who have suffered serious and life-changing injuries that require ongoing nursing care. In 2015-16 CICA paid more than £150 million in compensation to victims of violent crime
Just because you have witnessed a violent crime does not mean you are eligible to make a claim. You must prove that your life has been significantly altered from the mental trauma you have experienced. An assessor for the CICA will consider whether your mental state resulted from or was exacerbated by witnessing an event, and the nature of your relationship with the victim of the crime. For example, seeing your spouse or child be assaulted would be considered more traumatic than seeing a stranger hurt.
Making a Witness Compensation Claim
Building a successful case for witness compensation can take longer than for a client with an obvious physical injury. We recommend you speak to your GP for appropriate care and referral if you believe you are suffering psychological damage. Keep a diary recording how you feel and the impact the trauma has on your daily life, and seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
The Compensation Experts can help. Simply phone, or fill in our online enquiry form and one of our advisors will respond at a time that suits you.
Am I eligible?
If you have been harmed physically in the last 3 years, due to someone else’s negligence, the short answer is yes.
Exceptions to this are for instance industrial disease or if you were a child at the time of the accident. In these cases you may then have a longer period to claim.Find out more
How much could I claim?
As every injury is different, the amount of compensation paid out can also differ case to case. Varying factors lead to the final figure. These include: extent of your injuries, loss of earnings, future losses and more.
Our dedicated team of experts will give you an indication of how much you could potentially claim for.Find out more
How does the process work?
We understand that when making a claim it’s important to know what to expect and when to expect it. That’s why we make the process as transparent & clear as possible.
Your solicitor will gather all the evidence. They will then notify the negligent party that you wish to begin claim proceedings. With your solicitor negotiating on your behalf, you will be up to date every step of the way.Find out more