CICA rule that injury caused by another person's suicide attempt is compensable

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Gareth Owen Jones suffered severe injuries when the vehicle he was driving was hit by a lorry which had swerved to avoid hitting a suicidal man who had run onto the dual carriageway.

The tribunal concluded the act of many running into the road had not been a hostile act directed towards a person who suffered injury as a result of his actions and there was no evidence that he had deliberately intended to cause any harm to other road users.

The decision was appealed claiming the suicidal man had inflicted grievous bodily harm contrary to the Offences against the Person Act 1861 s.20. 

A decision that an offence had been committed necessitated a finding that the man had by acting in the way he did would have foreseen some degree of harm and it was necessary to prove the man had the intention (mens rea). 

It was held that despite no evidence about the man's states of mind did not mean there was no evidence capable of supporting the necessary inference that he had to have foreseen the likelihood of harm being caused to persons other than himself.   It was highly improbable that anyone who tan into the path of traffic on a busy motorway would not at the very least foresee the possibility of an accident and consequent harm to others and the Tribunal had given no consideration to the obvious possibility of risk of an accident and had instead assumed that an intention to commit suicide was necessarily inconsistent with a deliberate intention to cause harm and it was held the Tribunal's decision involved an error of law in terms of the test the Tribunal applied and in its finding there was no evidence of foresight of some harm.

The Tribunal's decision was quashed and the matter was remitted to the Tribunal for reconsideration of the issue of recklessness and the probability of the many having had the necessary foresight of some harm results from his actions.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICA)

The CICA is a fund of public money available to compensate victims of crimes of violence such as being attacked or injured in the course of a crime and it can be shown the injury was intentional.

In order to apply to the CICA for compensation there is certain criteria which must be adhered to:-

  • the applicant must be a victim of a crime of violence
  • the applicant has to report the matter to the police as soon as possible
  • the applicant must co-operate with any police enquires or investigations
  • the applicant must not have been involved in any criminal act leading to the violence

The types of injuries where a claim could be made against the CICA would be such circumstances where you were attacked sexually or grievously, injured whilst a burglary or robbery was taking place, run over by a car when it was the driver's intention to harm, playing sport if the intention of the other player was to harm, also in the cases of shaken baby victims.

In all the above and similar circumstances the claims have a common factor which is the harm much be intentional and a crime of violence.

Making a claim

The process is fairly straightforward and with minor claims it will not be necessary to consult a solicitor.  However, with more serious injuries it is advisable to consult a Solicitor.

If the application fulfils the criteria the CICA will then investigate the matter and obtain statements from the relevant witnesses and the Police as to the circumstances and also as to the injuries from the applicant's medical records.  The CICA will also require details of the applicants out of pocket expenses.

Once the matter has been fully investigated and the CICA has sufficient information to make an award the applicant will be advised in writing of the award the CICA propose to make.  Awards are made in accordance with the CICA tariff scheme which allocates specific wards to specific injuries.  The minimum award that can be made is £1000 and the maximum is £500,000.

Time Limits

There is a time limit to bringing a claim and an application must be submitted within two yeas of the crime of violence taking place.  It is possible in certain circumstances to request the deadline be waived.

Two other important criteria involves compensation for abuse occurring many years ago and applications will not be accepted if the event took place before 1 August 1964 or if the crime of violence took place before 1 October 1979 and the applicant and perpetrator were living together as members of the same family.


Should the applicant not be satisfied with the award there is an appeal process and the application will be passed to a senior case worker which will consider the award and make a further decision and if the outcome is still not acceptable, an appeal hearing before the CICA Appeals Panel can be requested.

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