A civil servant who had both his arms broken in an unprovoked assault whilst he was walking home, has been awarded damages from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
Gary Miller, 47, from Blakelaw in Newcastle was walking across Blakelaw Park just a few metres from his home when he was assaulted by two men in April 2009.
They knocked him to the ground and when he tried to get up they knocked him unconscious. He was out for two hours before his neighbours, returning from a night out, found him and helped him home.
When he came round the next morning his father took him straight to accident and emergency where he was diagnosed with fractured humerus’ in both arms. His left arm was so badly broken he had to have emergency surgery.
Following the accident he needed five months off work from his job in the Pensions Service. Despite intensive physiotherapy he has a frozen left shoulder and his right arm was so badly injured, he cannot lift his arms above head height. He cannot drive nor wear clothes which have to go over his head.
Additionally he needs a walk-in shower and is in constant pain.
Whilst he has been able to return to work he is on reduced duties and has a specially adapted work station.
Following the incident he reported it to the police but his assailants have never been caught. He spoke with his trade union, the PCS, about his fears for the future and the union instructed its lawyers, Thompsons Solicitors, to investigate making a CICA claim.
The CICA is a government fund which compensates victims of violent crimes. CICA awards are allocated on a tariff basis.
Mr Miller was initially awarded just £7,645 but Thompsons appealed the decision claiming his injuries were so disabling he should be awarded more. The appeal panel agreed and awarded him £12,650.
Mr Miller said: “To this day my attackers have never been caught. They beat me up and left me unconscious, for reasons I will never know or understand. I’m not sure what would have happened if my neighbours hadn’t found me. The impact of my injuries affects everything about my life from simple things like getting dressed to being able to drive a car.
“Fortunately my employer has been understanding and my role has been adjusted to accommodate my injuries but otherwise my life is unrecognisable now compared to before the assault.
“This compensation will help me to pay for equipment which will make my life easier. Things like the walk-in shower have made a huge difference to my independence.”
Phil Madelin, PCS's head of legal services added: “We are pleased we have been able to help Mr Miller in the aftermath of this appalling incident. We knew that a CICA could award him compensation in this case because he has been left disabled by violent crime. The PCS offers its members free legal advice, even for these types of claims which are not work-related and, unlike civil claims, the CICA award does not cover legal costs.”
Wayne Christie from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Mr Miller was left for dead by his attackers and as a result now has a serious disability which affects every part of his life. If it was not for the CICA scheme he would not receive a penny in compensation because his attackers were never caught and even if they were it is unlikely they’d have the funds available to compensate him in a civil claim.
“This award will help him to buy the equipment he needs to make his life more comfortable now and in the future.”
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