Victims of crimes of violence abroad - guidance on seeking damages Image

Victims of crimes of violence abroad - guidance on seeking damages

Posted: 20/02/2015

Check your insurance

Your travel insurance may well provide payment if you have been injured by an assault abroad. Make sure you read the policy terms.

State compensation

Victims of crimes of violence in the UK have long had the opportunity to pursue a claim with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The CICA scheme will award compensation by reference to a tariff (dependent upon the injury) and for some financial losses up to a maximum of £500,000. There are very strict rules about eligibility to the scheme.

Claims must generally be submitted within two years of the incident. There must be full co-operation with the police and no element of provocation of the assailant by the victim. Any victim with a criminal record - even if it is not related to the assault - is generally excluded from making a claim.

Similar schemes exist throughout the EU but each with slightly different rules. If you have been a victim of crime in an EU country, then it is possible to submit your claim through the UK-based CICA.

CICA also has schemes for victims of terrorist attacks abroad, victims of human trafficking, and armed forces personnel who are victims of crimes of violence overseas.

Many countries outside the EU also have their own state compensation fund for victims of crimes of violence. These countries include Australia, Canada, New Zealand and even the United States (where the schemes vary from state to state).

Civil remedies

Where the assailant is known and has sufficient financial means, it is possible to pursue a claim in the civil courts in the jurisdiction where the attack took place, although these circumstances will obviously be rare. More commonly, civil liability may attach to some other party such as the operator of a car park who failed to provide sufficient lighting in circumstances where muggings regularly occurred. These are known as Inadequate Security claims and are often successfully pursued in the USA.

In a recent US case, an international hotel chain was found liable for a mugging victim who sustained serious brain injury when attacked by a gang outside the hotel premises but in circumstances where security on the premises would have prevented the attack.

In many US states, the proprietor of a bar who sells alcohol to an intoxicated customer may be liable for the injuries that a customer subsequently inflicts by reason of his drunkenness.

Time limits

All of these claims are subject to very strict time limits and reporting requirements so you should consider taking professional advice as soon as possible.

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