Can I Claim Criminal Compensation If I Have Been Hurt in an Assault or as a Result of a Criminal Offence?
The short answer is yes. However, in order for your criminal compensation claim to be assessed you must be able to satisfy the Criminal Injuries Compensation Assessor of certain things. The first is that a criminal offence or assault was committed. This does not necessarily mean that someone has to have been charged and convicted, however in those circumstances the Assessor will be easily satisfied that an offence occurred. You may still be successful in your claim even if no one was charged with an offence. However, you must have reported the offence to the Police and assisted with the investigation. You will have to attach a copy of the statement that you made to the Police to the application.
The second, is that you suffered injury. You must be able to provide medical evidence to identify the injury that you have suffered. Remember ‘injury’ encompasses physical and psychological injury (or mental harm). You will also have to prepare a victim impact statement identifying, in your own words, how the injury has affected you and your life. Following the assault or offence, you should attend at a hospital or upon your doctor to be assessed and have the required treatment. Any award of damages for the injury is known as an award for General Damages.
Thirdly, if you have suffered any loss or other damage as a result of the injury, you need to provide other documentary evidence to substantiate that loss. These types of loss include lost wages, out of pocket medical expenses, travelling expenses and loss or damage to items of personal apparel. To be successful in claiming these items you must provide documentary proof. For example, if you had to take unpaid leave from work you should provide a letter from your employer confirming the dates you had off work, the reason you took the time off and the amount of net wages you lost as a result. Also, you should keep all of the invoices and receipts for other out of pocket medical and travelling expenses to submit with the application.
Other things to consider are the time limitations for bringing the application, which is 3 years from the date of the offence, however the Assessor may grant an extension in certain circumstances. You may also be entitled to criminal compensation if you witnessed the aftermath of an assault, however only certain people may do so. If you have been assaulted or suffered injury as a result of the commission of an offence, you should contact a specialist personal injury lawyer to determine whether you have a viable claim, and to assist you in maximising your criminal compensation entitlements. Once you have satisfied these requirements, the Assessor will assess the value of your claim and send an Award outlining the type and amount of damages awarded. If you are not satisfied with the award you may lodge an appeal to the District Court of Western Australia within 21 days.