Can I make an insurance claim if someone assaults me?

Assault can be the most traumatic event you can experience in your life. Cherished possessions can be taken from you, and the physical and emotional damage can take weeks, months or even years to overcome.

While compensation will never put right all the fall-out from an assault, it can at least get you back on track. Many victims are too shell-shocked in the immediate aftermath to even think about making a claim. It pays, therefore, to get your injury compensation advice as soon as possible.

Risk

The good news is that crime is on the way down, but while there was a fall of 7.2% between March 2011 and March 2012 in ‘violence against the person’ – the crime classification encompassing assaults, as well as murder, manslaughter etc. – the amount of offences still stood at 763,000.

The British Crime Survey of 2009/10 suggested 42 in every 1000 men would be a victim of violent crime, while the figure for women was 18 in 1000. While assault is uncommon, and despite the fall in crime rates in the intervening period, the chances of falling victim are still worth worrying about.

Insurance

It is not as simple to go about getting compensation for an assault as you may think. One issue is that you will find yourself needing to go through different insurers to cover your health issues, damage to your property or possessions, and any theft that took place.

Added to that, is the fact many insurers don’t provide cover if, for instance, you were under the influence of alcohol, or acted in such a way as to invite the incident. A cyclist who is barged off their bike before it is stolen may well receive compensation, but if they had it taken while they walked it down the street, the same bike insurance-policy might not pay out.

A consumer report in 2011 highlighted that only 6% of car insurance policies effectively covered ‘road rage’: damage to a car might be covered (though proof that the damage was not brought on by the policy holder may need to be provided), physical assault and emotional trauma may well not be.

Legal action

The best way to seek redress is to make a criminal injury compensation claim. The ways you can claim include:

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)

The CICA is the only way compensation can be received if the victim’s attacker is unknown or cannot pay the damages awarded. That makes it the most common means by which victims seek compensation.

Its definition of assault is strict, and awards tend to be lower, but claims made this way are a good back up if the civil claims below are unsuccessful.

Direct claim against the attacker

Assault does not have to include a physical act. If you believe your attacker intends to commit battery then an assault has taken place.

If you can prove there was reason for you to believe your attacker intended to commit battery then you can make a successful civil claim. But you need to be able to identify your attacker and be sure they can pay out.

Claim against your employer

If you were a victim of assault while at work or carrying out your job, you may be able to make a claim against your employer. To do this you need to prove the risk you were exposed to was unreasonable, foreseeable and could have been prevented.

Make sure you speak to a reputable firm of specialist solicitors such as injurylawyers4u.co.uk before choosing which path to take.