The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB) is a government body which awards compensation to victims of crime and their families following a criminal act.
It’s an important tribunal because for many victims of crime, it’s the only way they can recover compensation for their injuries.
The first rule of personal injury law (or litigation for that matter) is to sue a party with deep pockets. You can’t get blood from a stone in the Courtroom. So, if you sue, and get a Judgment against a party who can never pay the value of the Judgment; then the Judgment itself is without any value. The only value that the Judgment has is knowing that you won in Court. But winning in Court where the only award is damages is a hollow award.Imagine paying a lawyer $20,000 in legal fees, and the lawyer wins a Judgment for you at trial. But after trial, when the lawyer seeks to recover payment on that $20,000 and cannot deliver because the Defendant is broke without assets, then what value is that $20,000 Judgment to you? It’s essentially worthless.
In a car accident or slip and fall case, there is generally some form of insurance behind the at fault party. In Ontario, driving with insurance is mandatory.
But there is no every day insurance to protect you from an act of criminal violence. The same way that an insurer will not insure people for committing criminal acts.
Unless the at fault criminal is a multi millionaire with debt free real estate holdings, your chances of recover against the at fault party in Court are slim. Keep in mind that the wealthiest of people are normally very good at hiding their assets to make sure that they’re judgment proof.
This is where the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board comes in to play. The Ontario Government has set aside a pool of money to compensate victims of crime and their loved ones following a criminal act. This ensure that innocent victims of crime are properly compensated.
The maximum claim that the CICB is allowed to award is $25,000. Not a lot, but not a little either. For a government body to award, it’s “ok“. The very fact this Board exists is a good thing. You have two years from the date of loss to sue. If you wait longer, you will need to explain the delay. The limitation period for sexual assault claims is longer because the Courts and the CICB acknowledges that it takes a heck of a lot of courage to step forward and make a claim. Our lawyers have successfully had the limitation period for sexual assault claims before the CICB extended in sexual assault claims well beyond the two year mark.
Our lawyers can assist in the filing and preparation of the CICB Forms in order to advance your claim. The initial application can be found on the Goldfinger Personal Injury Law website,
Once the initial CICB Application is filed, the Board will want other records. They will want medical records, a medical report from your doctor or dentist, any witness statements, the police report, the police officer’s notes, evidence of an income loss, evidence of funeral expenses if it’s a fatality claim, evidence of out of pocket expenses, any pay stubs for missed work etc. You have to establish and quantify your claim, just as you would in the course of a normal personal injury case.
Once the Board is satisfied that it has all of the information and documentation it needs to hear your case, they will set up a hearing date. Some hearings are done in writing; or without the need of a formal appearance. Our lawyers often see that in the context of sexual assault claims. Other hearings are done in person at the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board Offices in Toronto, or at a hotel board room in town/city near where the claimant lives. In London and in Peterborough, these hearings are done at different hotels across the City. It just depends on room availability.
The CICB hearings used to be before a panel of 2-3 people. Things have changed on account of cuts to the Board. You will rarely see a three person panel hearing a CICB case. Now you will get a most two people, but more often than not, it will only be one person hearing your CICB case.
Unlike trial, the CICB hearing is more informal. The rules of evidence are certainly more relaxed than what you would find in a Courtroom. It’s also certainly not an adversarial procedure like trial is set out to be. Your job, as a claimant, is to present your case as best as you can. The Board Member will no doubt have questions about your case, but all you need to do is answer those questions as truthfully as possible.
Sometimes, the at fault party will be in attendance. Other times, the police officer who investigated the claim will be in attendance as well. The CICB Board member will have questions for these parties. You and your lawyer are entitled to ask the police officer and the at fault party questions as well by way of cross examination. You will know ahead of your hearing whether or not any other parties will be in attendance for your claim.
After the hearing, the CICB will usually deliver some oral reasons, followed by written reasons which are delivered within 3-5 weeks or so. If you are awarded money at the hearing, then the cheque will be cut and processed by the Board to you. If you aren’t awarded any money at the CICB hearing, then unlike at trial, there are no cost consequences against you for having done a hearing and essentially lost.
In awarding compensation, the CICB looks at many factors including but not limited to:
- Did you provoke the attack/act of crime?
- Were you a completely innocent victim of crime?
- Do you have a previous criminal record?
- Did you co-operate with the police in their investigation?
- Were the police contacted promptly?
- What are the extent of your damages/injuries?
- How did these injuries impact your life?
- What is your economic loss?
- Did you mitigate your loss/injuries by doing everything in your power to get better?
It’s a good idea to have a lawyer for CICB hearings. If you need one, you know who to contact.