If you have been injured as the result of a crime in Ontario, you may be entitled to compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB).
What is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board you ask? Good question!
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board is a government body which assesses and awards financial compensation to victims of crime in Ontario. This is a nice thing that the Ontario Government has been doing for the public since around 1967 under the Law Enforcement Compensation Act (LECA) came in to force.
The law and compensation structure of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board has changed a lot since 1967. But, the premise remains the same. The Ontario Government has set aside a pool of money in order to compensate injured victims of crime, for up to $25,000 per claim. This is a nice public service.
Our lawyers are asked why it’s important for the Ontario Government to do this. The answer is that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board is often the only real method for innocent victims of crime to recover financial compensation for their injuries (not a piece of paper Judgment which is unenforceable).
Earlier this week, the @GoldfingerLaw Twitter Account tweeted out a CBC article regarding Judgment Proof Defendants. The article highlighted a Plaintiff who sued an immigration consultant for having done a poor job. The Plaintiff was successful at trial, and secured a Judgment against the Defendant. But, as it turned out, the Defendant legal consultant was judgment proof.
Being Judgment proof means that the Defendant does not have the money, assets or resources to pay for the Judgment. That’s not fair. I agree. The saying “You can’t get blood from a stone” applies here.
People often wrongly think that an inability to pay a Judgment will result in automatic jail time, or even worse.
That’s simply not true. If you can’t pay a Judgment because you don’t have the money, assets, or resources to do so, you don’t go to jail. You simply have a Judgment clouding your conscious and credit rating until it has been extinguished.
A judgment against a Defendant without money, resources, or any tangible assets is only just a piece of paper, as documented in the CBC article from earlier this week. But Plaintiff lawyers across Canada are taught this early in their law school careers. This is also a handy piece of business advice as well.
Why is this concept important as it relates to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board? Unless the criminal is a very wealthy person with considerable assets, the chances of recovering compensation by way of personal injury lawsuit are rather low. There is NO INSURANCE which will cover a Defendant for having committed, or attempted to commit a criminal act. The person who committed the crime may likely be Judgement Proof, just as we explained in the example above. At other times, the assailant may placed in jail, without the ability to earn an income to pay off a potential judgment. In other examples, the assailant may still be at large, or their identity and whereabouts remain unknown. In those sort of circumstances, what’s a personal injury lawyer to do? The lawyer cannot sue a nameless or faceless entity and hope to make a real financial recovery against John Doe Assailant. This is akin to suing a ghost. The lawyer can certainly secure a Judgment in Court, but what good would that piece of paper do for the client, other than provide them with a perhaps sense of satisfaction or relief. That Judgment won’t pay their bills one way or another.
That’s where the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board comes in to play. While the limit per claim is $25,000; which may not seem like a lot of money, at the very least it’s something which can compensate a victim of crime for their damages. If you have therapy or treatment expenses which are NOT covered by OHIP, such as for counselling, dental work, physiotherapy, massage, or chiropractic care; all of these services can be paid for by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, if the Board finds in your favour. In some circumstances, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board will even pay a victim of crime for their out of pocket treatment expenses BEFORE a hearing has even been conducted so that the victim of crime can get better sooner, rather than later.
If an injured victim of crime has missed work on account of injury, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board has to power to award damages for income loss. Travel to/from treatment expenses along with support of a child who was born as a result of sexual assault (rape) are also recoverable through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board as well.
If the police have NOT investigated the crime, or if the crime has not been reported to the police, there is a good chance that you may NOT be eligible for benefits from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. As a rule of thumb, if the police have investigated the incident, whether or not charges have been laid, it will likely open the door to compensation from the Board. The opposite is true where the police or local authorities have NOT investigated the incident (charges or no charges).
To read more about the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, you can visit their website by clicking the link here. Their website has the Application Forms along with other great information.
But, just because you apply to the CICB, does not automatically mean you will get compensated. There is a considerable amount of work required after the application has been submitted. Please note that the current CICB application is 15 pages in length, and can be intimidating for many. Speak of intimidating, if your application is approved, you will likely have an oral hearing for your case. Many victims of crime we speak with would like to have a lawyer to assist them, not only with the Application process, document exchange etc., but also to have a lawyer for the purpose of the hearing itself. Our law firm can certainly assist in this regard. We have been doing so for injured victims of crime before the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board across Ontario since around 2008.
Our lawyers can tell you that the people who work at the Board are fantastic to deal with. But, through no fault of their own, the CICB process can be lengthy, intimidating, and certainly frustrating at times. There is no doubt that having to recount your tale and re-live a violent crime before a complete stranger in the form of an officer of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board can be emotionally taxing, difficult and stressful. But, the lawyers of Goldfinger Personal Injury Law will be there with you every step of the way to ensure that your case runs smoothly, and to make sure that you get the compensation which you deserve.