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How can I claim criminal injury compensation in Portugal?
Whilst on holiday in Portugal I was subject to a violent attack. I suffered with broken ribs, broken jaw and cheekbone.
I submitted a claim for compensation, through the CICA in the UK and I initially received a response rejecting my claim on the basis that I was not incapacitated for more than 30 days and the Portuguese authorities disputed the actuality of broken bones?
I appealed immediately providing a Doctor's certificate proving I was off work for 74 days and actual print outs from the hospital records confirming broken bones.
Despite further attempts by the CICA to extract a response from the Portuguese authorities, each email and letter has yet to be responded to.
Is there any other (higher) authority I can approach to take this forward on my behalf?
A: You have taken the correct initial approach to making a criminal injury compensation claim in Portugal - by involving the CICA you have obtained free legal advice and assistance.
Click criminal injury compensation Portugal to learn how the CICA can help you make a claim in a European country.
However, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority can only assist you so far. To understand how the Portuguese criminal injury compensation scheme operates click on the link below which will take you to the British embassy site in Portugal
Click British embassy and criminal injury compensation in Portugal to obtain help making a claim from the British Embassy in Lisbon
The British embassy site recommends either making a claim direct or using the EU Compensation Assistance Team, which is part of the CICA in the UK. You have taken the latter approach by involving the EU Compensation Team, but from experience of dealing with criminal injuries claims generally I suggest you consider the following steps:
1. Telephone the CICA to see exactly what has happened with your criminal injury claim, Portugal
Do not allow yourself to be fobbed off by the UK authority saying a letter or fax has been sent, which has not been replied to. I would ask them to phone the Portuguese authority direct and ask them to give you a deadline for a reply. Should you not receive a reply - call again and ask to speak to someone senior if you are not happy with the progress.
2. Involve a Portuguese personal injury lawyer in your criminal injury compensation claim
In Great Britain criminal injuries claims can be notoriously slow without the involvement of a UK personal injury solicitor - this solicitor will chase the authority and ensure your claim is dealt with promptly. By analogy I would imagine this is exactly the same, if not worse, when trying to make a claim in Portugal. Portuguese personal injury lawyers will however be very adept at dealing with such claims and would know what to do to ensure your win your claim quickly.
Using the link below you will find a list of English speaking lawyers in Lisbon, Portugal - this is the British Embassy's list. I suggest you contact one of these lawyers to see if you can get some free legal advice or discuss whether you can receive help with your claim. The Potuguese lawyer might be prepared to agree to deduct any legal fees from your compensation if your claim is successful.
Click this link for links to English speaking lawyers in Portugal who might be able to help you with your criminal injury compensation claim