Unfortunately as a Serious Injuries Solicitor I encounter people who have sustained significant injury as a consequence of an assault; explains Personal injury Solicitor Andrew Zajac.
According to recent figures released by the Office for National Statistics the number of assaults and offences of violence against the person continues to fall year on year. However, there are still in excess of 600,000 reported occurrences annually, down about 1.5% on the previous year. About half result in injury.
But as these statistics relate to the cases that have been reported to Police it's likely that the actual number of assaults is significantly higher. It seems that hardly a week goes by without a report in the media about yet another assault.
Take for example an article by Dominic Smith in The Times on 27 January 2014. Dominic (not his real name) explains that he was the victim of an unexpected, unprovoked attack which resulted in him falling and the back of his head striking the pavement. His powerful article describes that he suffered a brain injury which has changed his life forever. Although he returned home relatively soon after the injury, he is left with lasting consequences including loss of sense of smell (and consequently taste), partial deafness, tinnitus and fatigue. Perhaps most significantly Dominic explains that “The person who came out of hospital wasn’t ‘me’”. He lacked motivation, lacked self-confidence and was quick to anger. These changes impacted on the people around Dominic and unfortunately resulted in a breakdown in the relationship with his girlfriend.
In some cases there are no outwardly obvious signs that a person has a brain injury. As Dominic explains, “To all outward appearances I am now better, but with traumatic brain injuries there really is no such thing as a full recovery”. Some of our clients who have suffered a brain injury are able to resume education and/or employment in some form. However, a good proportion cannot and require extensive care, assistance and therapy.
A person who has been the victim of an assault resulting in injury can make an application the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) which is a government funded body that compensates victims of a crime of violence. The CICA compensates for injuries and for certain financial losses. The maximum award that the CICA will pay is £500,000.
Whilst this is sometimes not enough to cover all losses, an application to the CICA is often the only option where it is unlikely that the attacker(s) would have insurance which covers their liability to pay compensation if a claim is successfully brought against them.
Andrew Zajac is an Associate Personal Injury Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers.
Slater and Gordon offer a free consultation for people injured in accidents through no fault of their own. Call freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help you.