If you, or a loved one is unfortunate enough to suffered a criminal injury, you will know just how distressing it can be. Whether you been physically injured or experienced psychological trauma as a result of a violent crime, our award-winning solicitors can help you bring a criminal injury compensation claim*. Hanahoe and Hanahoe solicitors have over 40 years’ experience in bringing criminal injury compensation claims * on behalf of the victims of crime. Our expert injury compensation solicitors* have years of experience acting for the victims of crime, by either submitting an injury claims* to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal, or by bringing a personal injury claims* on behalf on the victim.
Violent Crimes in Ireland
According to the Central Statistics Office there were over 50,000 violent crimes in Ireland in 2019. You would have expected that given Covid 19 pandemic, and particularly given that socialising in pubs and nightclubs has ceased, that the number of violent crimes being committed would be significantly down in 2020. While there was a drop, it was not as significant as you would suspect, as there was still over 45,000 violent crimes committed in Ireland.
Crimes such as assault, sexual assault and robbery often gives rise to significant and sometimes catastrophic injuries. They can also cause the victims huge psychological injuries and it is not uncommon for victims to suffer from post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression and even suicidal ideation.
Bringing a Criminal Injury Compensation Claim
In you have been the victim of a crime the first thing you should always do is seek medical help. Thereafter, it is essential that you to report the matter to the Gardai, so that they can investigate and hopefully charge the perpetrator. However, even if the perpetrator is charged, a Criminal Court cannot make an Order for damages, directing the accused to pay the victim compensation for their injuries. Even if the Court could, they vast majority of criminals could not afford to pay it. The accused may offer the victim some form of compensation, in an attempt to avoid a prison sentence, but the amount of compensation is generally nominal and does not come close to compensating the victims for the injuries they have suffered.
Unfortunately, many victims are unaware of the possibility of bringing a criminal injury compensation claim*. Such compensation payments may be significant, particularly in cases assault, sexual assault or child sexual abuse. There are a number of different ways you can bring a criminal injury compensation claim*. If you have been the victim of crime and have sustained either physical or psychological injuries, you should speak to one of our specialist criminal injury solicitors* today and who will be happy to assist you.
Compensation from the Offender.
It is often impossible get compensation from the criminal offender, as they may not have the means to meet any order for damages you may obtain against them from the Courts. However, this is not always case. Sometimes the offender has the means or assets to meet an injury compensation claim*. Our criminal injury solicitors have secured significant compensation payments* for victims of crime, directly from offenders, particularly in sexual sexual abuse claims and assault cases. Depending on the individual case, this may require us seeking and enforcing judgement on behalf of the victim, however, often the offender may be eager to settle. At your initial consultation, our expert criminal injury solicitors* will assess not only whether you have a good criminal injury compensation claim*, but also the prospects of the offender paying the compensation.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal is a statutory scheme which provides compensation for victims of violent crime; for those injured while trying to prevent a crime; and the families of deceased victims of crime. On receipt of an application the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal will assess whether the injured victim is eligible for compensation under the Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted.
Who can make a Claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal?
- Victims who sustained a personal injury* directly caused by a reported violent crime
- Persons who sustained a personal injury* attempting to prevent a reported violent crime or in attempting to save someone’s life.
- Dependents of a victim who has died due to a violent crime.
- It is a requirement of the Scheme that the incident has been reported to the Gardai and that victim has and continues to cooperate with the Gardai. However, it is not a requirement that the Gardai have charged the victim or even investigated the crime.
What Can I Claim For?
- Out-of-pocket expenses and bills, including medical expenses.
- Loss of earnings.
- Estimated future loss of earnings.
- Estimated future medical expenses.
- Estimated future expenses as a result of the disability (e.g. future care costs or special equipment).
Compensation is only provided for out of pocked expenses, but this includes loss of earnings and future loss earnings. Given that many of the clients we deal with have suffered serious or sometimes catastrophic injuries, their out-of-pocket expenses can be significant. Often clients who do not have severe physical injuries can have very large cases, due the significant phycological injuries suffered. We particularly see this in sexual violence cases, where the victim suffered significant Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, interfering with their ability to work, resulting in their out-of-pocket expenses running into hundreds of thousands of euro. In complex or large cases, professional advice is necessary to properly present one’s claim, particular where it is necessary to obtain numerous medical reports, together with actuarial reports and reports from occupational and vocational assessors. Our criminal injury compensation solicitors* have experience necessary to prepare such large and complex claims*, ensuring that the Criminal Injury Compensation Tribunal, make the appropriate assessment.
Where a family member has died as a result of crime, the victim’s family will be paid the actual loss of earnings (to include social welfare payments) and expenses that may have been incurred before the death, the future loss of support/ maintenance, funeral and burial expenses and mental distress money for immediate family members.
How can I make a Criminal Injury Compensation Claim and What are the time limits?
An application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal must be made in writing in accordance with the form provided by the scheme as soon as possible and no later than three months after the incident. That said, a late application can be made where the Tribunal considers the circumstances exceptional. Due to hospitalisation, psychological injuries, such as post traumatic stress and a variety of other factors, many of our clients are late submitting their criminal injury compensation claims*. While we would always advise clients to make their criminal injury compensation claim* within the time limits, where possible, we also always advise clients to submit their claims regardless of them being late. Different time limits apply for Fatal Injury Claims and advice should be sought from one of our Criminal Injury Compensation Solicitors*.
An application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal can be made as well as bringing a civil claim or personal injury claim*, but you cannot receive double compensation. As the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal does not give compensation for personal injury it is important to discuss the prospect of bringing a civil or personal injury compensation claim* with one of our criminal injury solicitors.
How Long does a Criminal Injury Compensation Claim Take?
This depends on the individual circumstances of each case. The length of time may vary greatly, depending on the complexity of the criminal compensation claim*. Typically, final Garda reports on the crime are required, as are the outcomes of any criminal proceedings brought. The Criminal Compensation Tribunal will not consider an application for compensation until the Gardai has concluded its investigation. However, that does not mean you should until the investigation has concluded before submitting your claim, as you may then be out of time.
The injuries sustained by the victim also plays a big factor. In some cases, the extent of injuries suffered by the victim may not be known years. The Tribunal requires medical opinions on injuries and depending on the severity of the injuries this may take months or years in some cases.
Cases my also include complex loss of earnings claims and consideration of this may require employer assessment, social welfare reports or actuarial assessment. These and other factors affect the duration of any particular application.
Reason why the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal may not assess your claim
- That the victim is not a resident of the state
- That Criminal Compensation Tribunal is satisfied that the victim was responsible, either because of provocation or otherwise for the offence that caused their injuries. In such case, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal can either dismiss the claim or reduce the amount of the award.
- That Criminal Compensation Tribunal is satisfied that the victim way of life contributed our resulted in their injuries
Personal Injury Claims Against Other Parties Arising out of Criminal Injuries
In certain circumstances, other parties may have a duty of care to you and as such you can take a personal injury claim* against them as a result of the criminal injuries you have sustained. The major two differences from bringing a personal Injuries claim* and a criminal injury compensation claim under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, is that:
- the time limit is two years, as opposed to 3 months and;
- if you bring a personal injury claim*, you can claim damages for your injuries as well as loss of earnings and out of pocket expenses.
Compensation from the Offender’s Employer
If the offender is employed, i.e. a bouncer, security guard or teacher, it may be possible to seek compensation if the assault occurred in the context of their employment. This does not always mean it must occur at their place of employment. This is a complex area of law and requires specialist advice which our expert criminal injury or personal injury solicitors* can provide.
Compensation from the Church or other State Body or Voluntary Organisations.
Unfortunately, many people have been the victims of clerical child sexual abuse, sexual assault or indeed assaults, while being members of voluntary organisations or sports clubs or while attending school. State Bodies, Churches and Voluntary Organisations are required to have procedures in place to protect the public and may be directly responsible for the actions of their members or organisers. Victims often find that they are unable to speak about what occurred until many years later and for this reason there are exceptions to the time periods which apply to ordinary civil claims. At Hanahoe and Hanahoe Solicitors our criminal injury solicitors have successfully represented victims of clerical sexual abuse and those who have been the victims of sexual abuse and assault while members of voluntary organisations or sports clubs.
Assaults in Pubs, Nightclub, Shops and Takeaways.
The owners of pubs, nightclubs and similar venues, such as late-night shops or fast-food restaurants, have an obligation to keep their patrons safe while on their premises and in certain cases, in the area around its premises. This includes an obligation keep their customers safe from assault, sexual assault and robberies while on their premises.
The duty can include employing sufficient staff on the premises and not letting violent or rowdy persons onto the premises.
If you have been assaulted or sexually assaulted because:
- a clearly intoxicated or aggressive individuals were allowed to remain on the premise, or;
- the pub/night club or takeaway was so over crowded that security staff could not ensure your safety or;
- the pub/night club or takeaway did not have sufficient security staff working so that your safety was ensured or;
- you were assaulted by members of the staff then you may have a claim for personal injuries against the owners of the premises.
If you have been assaulted in such circumstances, it is essential that you immediately report the assault to the owners of the premise and to the Gardaí. CCTV footage can play a key role in successfully bringing such claims*, it is therefore preferable that you connect a specialised criminal injury solicitor quickly, so that we can ascertain whether the area where the assault occurred was covered by CCTV and ensure that any footage is maintained.
At Hanahoe and Hanahoe solicitors we have represented countless clients who have successfully taken claims against pub, nightclubs, late-night shops and fast-food restaurants for assaults which have occurred on their premises. This is a complex area of law and requires specialist advice from one of our criminal injury compensation solicitors*.
In a recent case, the owners of a late-night shop where required to pay €750,000 to a customer who they had thrown out and refused to let back where he was then assaulted outside their shop.
Compensation from your Employer.
Your Employer has a duty of care to protect you from assault at work, sexual assault at work or robbery while at work.
Assault or sexual assault at work can arise in many circumstances, for example security staff or bar staff are very vulnerable to assault and an employer has a duty to take reasonable steps to protect them from an assault at work. Similarly, there were almost 1000 assaults in health care settings reported in 2019 of which 70% were assaults on nurses, this is a very conservative figure as most assaults are not reported. Nurses and in particular psychiatric nurses are very exposed to the risk of assault and at Hanahoe and Hanahoe solicitors our criminal injury solicitors have successfully represented nurses, psychiatric nurses and other health care professionals in claims against their employers for damages for assault. In addition, there are a number of compensation schemes open to health care staff employed by the HSE and details of these should be sought from your trade union representative.
Robbery at work is also a common occurrence which can have devasting consequences victims, resulting in both physical and psychological injuries such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.. Your employer should not expose your to an unreasonable risk of robbery by requiring you to manage large amounts of cash, work alone or failing to provide you with reasonable protection, through screens, security , sufficient fellow employees or panic alarms. At Hanahoe and Hanahoe solicitors we have successfully represented employees in claims for compensation in cases involving robbery in a bookmaker’s shops, robbery of a delivery driver and robbery of warehouse staff.
Where the person who assaulted or sexually assaulted you is a fellow employee, you may be entitled to compensation from your employer, particularly if the person is in a position of authority or has a history of aggressive or inappropriate behaviour.
If you have any queries in relation to the above our specialist criminal injury solicitors* are in a position to advice you. Hanahoe and Hanahoe solicitors our an award winning law firm and represent clients from across the country in criminal injury compensation claims* and personal injury claims*
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.