Most of us are aware that if we suffer personal injuries as a result of the negligence of someone else, we may have the right to claim compensation against them. What is the position, though, where we suffer injuries as a result of a deliberate act, in the form of a physical assault?
In this article, we look at the three main scenarios in which a claim for compensation arising from an assault might be made and explain what steps you should take if you are injured in a deliberate assault.
- Claiming compensation from the perpetrator of the assault
It is possible to make a claim for compensation directly against the perpetrator of an assault against you. You will have to prove that you were assaulted, that it was the defendant who perpetrated the assault and that it was the assault that caused your injuries. One of the drawbacks of proceeding against the perpetrator is that the majority of those who carry out physical assaults on others do not tend to have the funds to satisfy any compensation award that is made against them. If, however, you are aware that the perpetrator of the assault has the means to pay any compensation that a court may order you may wish to take this course of action.
- Assaults in the workplace by a fellow employee
If the assault against you occurs in the workplace during the course of your employment you may be able to make a claim for compensation against your employer, whose insurers will probably cover them in respect of the claim.
- Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
In order to enable the innocent victim of an assault to be compensated for the injuries that he or she has sustained, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority offers a government funded scheme to which to a claim can be made. In order to come within the scheme, the assault has to happen in Great Britain (with the exclusion of Northern Ireland). Additionally, compensation of at least £1,000 must be payable and you must have reported the assault to the police (although no criminal conviction is needed). The claim will not cover any legal costs, the maximum amount of an individual award presently stands at £500,000 and there is a cap on the amount that can be claimed in respect of lost earnings.
Although you may meet the requirements for making a claim, certain matters may lead to it being rejected. These include you having a criminal record, your own behaviour causing or contributing to the assault, your failure to cooperate with the police, the assault having occurred prior to 1st August 1964 and you living in the same household as the person who assaulted you if the assault took place prior to 1st October 1979.
Unlike most other compensation claims, applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority must be made within two years of the incident giving rise to the injuries. Although that time limit can be waived, it only happens in exceptional circumstances.
Whichever remedy you pursue to claim compensation for injuries sustained in an assault, you should consult a personal injury solicitor. Even if his or her fees are not paid, you are more likely to receive, with the benefit of their advice, the amount of compensation that your injuries deserve.