I was witness to a violent crime, can I make a claim?

When it comes to criminal injury compensation, the types of injury which people suffer can vary widely. The most obvious type, of course, is the direct physical injury caused by something like a random attack in the street or a mugging. On top of this is the psychological damage which an attack like this can wreak. The knowledge that someone has gone out of their way to attack you in a manner which causes injury is deeply disturbing whether it’s a stranger or someone known to you, and can lead to longer term psychological damage.

The psychological effects of this kind of trauma are generally grouped together under the umbrella term ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’, and can include depression, panic attacks, disturbing flashbacks and a withdrawal from day to day life. The combination of physical and/or psychological damage can have a major effect upon the life of the victim and it’s therefore only right that you should be able to seek the compensation which you deserve.

What many people may not realise is that it’s also possible to claim compensation if you’re unlucky enough to be a witness to a violent crime. Most of us are fortunate enough to go through life without ever being confronted with genuine violence and so if we are it can be a hugely unsettling event. Whilst left physically unharmed the witness to a crime such as this may go on to suffer long term psychological effects. In some cases these will be manifest in the immediate aftermath of the crime but often it will take longer for the symptoms to become apparent. These symptoms may include stress, panic and disturbing obsessive thoughts and may, at their worst, completely ruin the life of the victim.

As with other criminal injuries, if you can demonstrate that you’re suffering in this way as a result of witnessing a crime in which you were in no way involved, then you may well be able to make a claim for the compensation which, whilst not curing all your problems, may just start the process of getting you back to normal.

 

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