Joe was 28 years old at the time. He was planning to open his own café and had put a lot of effort into preparing the premises. His injuries meant he lost his business. Because he could not find a suitable NHS prosthetic solution that worked for him, he remained reliant on crutches and a wheelchair to mobilise. The physical and emotional challenges he faced badly affected the lifestyle he previously enjoyed.
He was stuck in a house that was not suitable for a wheelchair user, sleeping in the living room because he couldn't negotiate the stairs and was unable to move due to the financial consequences of the assault.
Joe made a claim to CICA through another law firm before transferring his case to the serious injury team at Fieldfisher in 2016. Despite gathering expert evidence to show the severity of his injuries and the extent of his care needs, which were not funded by the state, it took four years to receive the first decision from the CICA.
In 2019, Joe was offered £33,900 for his injuries and losses. CICA also further reduced the award, suggesting that Joe was partly to blame for what happened.
Claire immediately requested a formal review of the decision. CICA took a further 18 months to respond and in October 2020 offered a slightly increased award of £46,385 and the argument that Joe was partly to blame was dropped.
By the end of 2020 and after more than five years of the claim, Claire applied to appeal the review decision. She attested that despite CICA guidelines, Joe's claim was worth more than £500,000 - the maximum award available under the 2012 scheme.
The appeal on Joe's behalf was based on updated evidence to prove that his needs hadn't changed since 2019. Claire again argued for the maximum award.
It took an additional two and a half years for the appeal to be listed for hearing before the First Tier Tribunal. A week before the hearing, a new CICA case handler reviewed the evidence and agreed that Joe should receive the maximum award. A joint position was presented to the Tribunal panel by the CICA case handler and Lizanne Gumbel KC, representing Joe.
The panel agreed with both sides and directed an award of £500,000. Joe described to the panel the difficulties he faced with the process and that he would have given up long ago without legal help.
Claire said: 'This was a fantastic and long-overdue result for my client whose life was turned upside down by a horrific, unprovoked attack. It should not have taken this long for CICA to recognise the value of this claim but finally this life-changing sum will allow Joe to move forward with his life.
'Because it is not possible to recover legal costs under the scheme, many applicants do not have legal representation. Facing a similar battle, too many will likely given up trying and accepted far less than they are entitled to.'
Joe said: Claire is an advocate for true justice, a voice for the vulnerable and above all hope. She and her team truly supported me in my case. They helped find professionals to diagnose my current condition and future needs, highlighted my difficulties and even, unbeknown to me, covered all the costs until settlement because I could not afford them.
'Against constant denial, pushback and lack of clarity in CICA rules, they fought for me. I felt valued when all things became dire, I was even told I was to blame for my own injuries. Claire continued and helped me clear my name. I deeply cannot express how wonderful she is, when I felt all was lost and a fair outcome would never be reached. My QC Lizanne also acted for me pro bono…
'I cannot recommend Claire highly enough For context - £48,000 award without Claire and her team, the maximum with them - that’s how good they are.'
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