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Other services

As well as being able to assist with claims for injury and loss, whether caused by a road traffic accident, an accident at work, on the highway or as a result of clinical negligence, we are also able to assist with a number of other services, including:

Applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme is a Government funded scheme that allows blameless victims of violent crime to recover a financial award of compensation for injury and financial loss.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (“CICA”) considers claims for compensation for personal injury, loss of earnings and special expenses. Generally speaking, an application has to be made within two years of sustaining injury.

It is still possible to get an award even if the person who injured you is not prosecuted. Although there is no legal definition of the term “a crime of violence”, it usually involves a physical attack.

The scheme is intended to compensate blameless victims of crime. Before making an award, the CICA checks that the applicant’s behaviour did not contribute to the incident giving rise to the injuries.

The CICA also takes into account the applicant’s criminal record, if he or she has one. This may mean that they can refuse a claim, or offer a reduced amount of compensation.

The CICA takes into account the applicant’s behaviour before, during or after an incident where he or she was injured. They are likely to reduce or refuse a claim if the applicant willingly took part in a fight, was acting in an aggressive or threatening way and provoked the incident in which he or she was injured, or where there was a history of assaults or fighting between the assailant and the victim.

Under the scheme, each type of injury is given a value. The awards are generally recognised as inadequate. They can never fully compensate for all the injuries suffered, but they are recognition of public sympathy for a blameless victim.

Where a victim of a crime of violence suffers both a physical and a mental injury, and the tariff amount for the physical injury is higher than that for the mental injury, the applicant will be entitled only to the tariff amount for the physical injury. When a person suffers both a physical and a mental injury, and the tariff amount for the mental injury is the same as or higher than that for the physical injury, the applicant will be entitled to awards for the separate injuries. The general rule where there are two separate injuries is that the applicant will recover the tariff amount for the highest-rated description of injury, plus 30% of the tariff amount for the second highest-rated description of injury.

If you would like assistance in pursuing a claim, we can represent you on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis.

Inquests and the role of the Coroner

In circumstances where somebody has died unexpectedly, either as a result of an accident or medical treatment or the cause of death is otherwise not clear the matter should be referred to a Coroner.

In those circumstances a death certificate should not be issued nor a burial or cremation take place without the Coroners agreement.

Coroners are appointed by the Lord Chancellor to act in a particular geographic area. The Coroner’s administration is undertaken by the area local authority. Most big cities and Counties will have their own Coroner.

A Coroner’s job is to discover how, when, in what circumstances the deceased came by his death and if necessary the name of the deceased.

The process normally begins with the instruction of a specialist doctor known as a pathologist to undertake an examination of the body (the post mortem) to establish, if possible, the physical cause of death.

The pathologist will produce a written report setting out the results of the post mortem and indicating, in their opinion, what caused the death.

Sometimes an interim death certificate is issued after the post mortem to allow a burial or cremation.

The Coroner will also investigate the circumstances leading up to the death and will take statements from witnesses and look at documents that will assist in this process.

If the issues are particularly complex or unclear the Coroner can also appoint an independent expert such as a doctor or engineer to provide an opinion on a particular part of the evidence.

Once all the evidence has been gathered the Coroner will then hold a hearing known as an Inquest. The area of law surrounding Inquests has become increasingly complex in recent years largely due to the coming into force of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the incorporation into English law of Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights (the Right to Life).

Some or all of the witnesses will be required to attend at the Inquest to give evidence and answer questions.

The Coroner is responsible for asking the questions.

The deceased’s family and others with a valid interest in the proceedings may also attend the Inquest and ask questions of the witnesses either themselves or through a legal representative.

An Inquest may last just an hour or two or many weeks depending on the number of witnesses or interested parties and or the complexity of the circumstances.

Once all the evidence has been heard the Coroner will reach a verdict setting out how, when and why the death occurred.

In certain circumstances (eg. a death in prison or where the deceased was detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983) the Inquest will be held in front of a Jury and the verdict will be delivered by the Jury.

The verdict will allow completion of the death certificate setting out the full cause of death.

In the ordinary course of events it is not the role of the Coroner to establish who might have been to blame for a death.

A number of problems may arise as a result of this process eg:

What if, say, the hospital or nursing home refuses to refer the matter to the Coroner?

What if the Coroners office refuses to let you have a copy of the post mortem report or you don’t agree with the report and want to obtain a second post mortem?

What if you want legal representation at the inquest but cannot afford to pay for a lawyer?

What if the Coroner won’t let you see the witness evidence or you want to introduce your own evidence or expert and are not being allowed to do so?

What if you don’t agree with the verdict or believe the Coroner has failed to consider all the relevant evidence or reached the wrong verdict?

In all these and any other matters it is important to seek legal advice quickly if you are concerned about the death of a relative or loved one.

We are able to advise you on the legal issues arising from representation at Inquests as well as practical considerations such as how representation could be funded.

In exceptional cases Public Funding (formerly known as legal aid) may be available.

Some useful links:

Guide to Coroner Services

Coroner investigations – a short guide

Contact a medical negligence or injury solicitor

To find out more about funding your medical negligence or injury claim, call us now on 0800 316 8892 or contact us online.