Starting a claim for domestic violence and abuse can often be a traumatic experience. With most other scenarios, the decision to pursue a compensation claim is an easy one. You get injured because of somebody else’s mistake or negligence and you file a claim so that you can receive some financial relief for your injuries in the form of compensation.
In the case of compensation for domestic violence, the dynamics are very different. This is because the violence does not stem from a mistake or an oversight. It is a deliberate act carried out by the perpetrator on the victim.
The decision to go ahead a file a claim for domestic violence can be one of the most difficult decisions to make. By its very nature, violence happens because the perpetrator has been successful in instilling a sense of fear in the victim, which means when you file a domestic violence compensation claim you are in fact challenging a person who you are afraid of. This itself can be an intimidating thought, one that prevents many abuse victims from seeking the justice they deserve.
Regardless of whether the abuse is physical, mental or sexual or whether the abuser is an individual or an organisation, you are entitled to file a compensation claim for any injuries stemming from the abuse. You can also file a case against child abuse, elderly abuse and neglect.
Starting A Domestic Violence Compensation Claim
To win any type of compensation claim, you must be able to prove that the injury/ injuries was caused due to a direct action of a third party. In the case of a compensation claim for domestic violence you must be able to prove that the violence did happen and that you were injured as a result of the violence.
As mentioned earlier, this could involve standing up to your abuser, which can be a huge deterrent for many victims of abuse. If you decide to file a case by yourself, you must be very sure that you will be able to do this without being afraid and that you will not be intimidated into repealing the case.
If you intend to pursue a compensation claim for domestic violence, it is far better to hire a personal injury solicitor who specialises in domestic violence claims. A specialist solicitor will be familiar with the law concerning domestic abuse and domestic abuse and will be more experienced not just with filing a strong case but also with handling abusers and their possible threats.
Most importantly,many domestic violence solicitors such as ours will be empathetic towards your circumstances and will help you get the justice you deserve without charging you any upfront fees.
Hiring A Domestic Violence Solicitor
During the first consultation with our domestic violence solicitor, they will listen to everything you have to say and ask if you have any kind of supporting evidence. This may be in the form of photographs of your injuries, threatening emails or texts or witnesses who can corroborate the abuse.
Depending on whether or not you have a strong case, the solicitor will advise you in their professional opinion whether you should go ahead with the claim or drop the claim.
If you have a strong case and are eligible to file a claim for compensation, most domestic violence solicitors will agree to put together your case and represent you in court without any upfront fees. From our perspective you will only have to pay, and that too usually an agreed percentage of compensation, only if the solicitor wins the case on your behalf and if the court awards you compensation. This is known as a No Win No Fee agreement.
What You Need To Support Your Claim
Photographs of injuries in cases of physical abuse, threatening emails or texts, medical records for treatment of any injuries sustained, witness statements – all of these provide evidence to support your claim of domestic violence.
Always keep all bills and doctors prescriptions if you needed medical treatment for your injuries. These provide irrefutable evidence of physical abuse.
If you have filed a report with the police, that may also be used as supporting evidence.
If you do not have any of the above to substantiate your claim, it should not dissuade you from going ahead and filing a domestic violence compensation claim. Many victims are too afraid to think about making any contingency plans. The court and our solicitors are aware of this and will help you fight for justice despite the lack of any evidence.
Why You Should Consider Filing A Domestic Violence Claim
Many victims of domestic violence are happy to just escape the abuse and do not want to have any more interaction with the perpetrator. While this may seem like the easy way out, it lets your abuser off the hook while you have to deal with the physical and mental ramifications.
Filing a claim for domestic violence not only allows you to hold your abuser responsible for your injuries, it also helps you get closure on this painful chapter and makes sure you are financially compensated for your injuries.
Compensation that is awarded for domestic violence claims is provided as a means of:
- Compensating for any pain and suffering resulting from the violence and abuse.
- Reimbursement of medical expenses for all short and long term treatment of physical injuries.
- Reimbursement of expenses for short and long term counselling to treat mental and emotional pain and injuries.
- Compensating for damage to personal property.
- Reimbursement for loss of income due to staying away from work – this includes projected income.
CICA – The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
CICA can also help victims of physical and mental abuse with claiming compensation. We would certainly recommend looking into how they might be able to help you claim additional compensation. They are an executive agency sponsored by the Ministry of Justice and you can find out more on what they can do for you here.
Time limits For Filing A Domestic Violence Claim
As a general rule, you must file the claim within 3 years of the incident of violence. However, UK courts do take into consideration the challenges that most abuse victims face in going ahead with their claim within the time limit. If the circumstances warrant it, the time limit may be extended.
Don’t take either ways for granted. Consult with a reputed domestic violence solicitor and get professional advice that is relevant to your unique situation.