Victims of crime seek an income: Father demands alternative to lump-sum compensation for son handicapped by assault

A FATHER is battling with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board to persuade it to award his brain-damaged and physically handicapped son an annual income, rather than the one-off lump sum that it normally would pay.

Peter Jones believes hundreds of criminal injury victims like his son Ross could benefit from such schemes, called structured settlements, each year. Yet the board has so far turned down Mr Jones's appeal on behalf of his son.

Ross, aged 14, has been handicapped since the age of three, when he was assaulted by his mother's then boyfriend. She had left her husband and moved to another part of the country, where she met her new partner.

The boyfriend was convicted in 1983 of causing Ross grievous bodily harm and sentenced to two years in jail.

Ross, who lives in Nottingham, cannot walk, dress or feed himself. He cannot speak, is incontinent, and is cared for at home mainly by his grandmother.

Mr Jones, an executive with IBM, the computer company, said: 'We calculate that the cost of caring for him properly is about pounds 50,000 a year, rising in line with inflation. Traditionally, criminal injury victims are paid lump sums, which they use as necessary.

'From my own point of view, I believe a regular income would help Ross more than any lump sum paid upfront. I want to know that if anything happens to me, his financial needs will be met for the rest of his life and his money will never run out.'

Despite a letter from a Government minister telling him that the board has the power to make structured payouts, not one had been made to date, he said. Structured settlements are recent imports into Britain from the United States, where they are a common way of meeting insurance claims, usually on behalf of accident victims.

Their advantage is that since 1987 they have been treated by the Inland Revenue as not subject to tax - unlike income from many kinds of lump- sum investments.

They also allow people who are not always used to managing large sums to know that their future needs, or those of their loved ones, will be looked after.

Ivor Levy, whose accountancy firm, Frenkel Topping, has negotiated several hundred such settlements in the past few years, said: 'We believe they can be suitable, from the largest claims, involving millions of pounds, to ones worth pounds 50,000. Once there has been agreement on the amount that will be needed to provide proper care - which is then index-linked - an injured person and their family will never have to worry about those things any more.'

Insurance companies prepared to offer structured annuities in Britain include Sun Life, Standard Life and Windsor Life. The latter's parent company, New York Life, has cornered a large slice of the market in the US.

Mr Levy said: 'The advantage for insurance companies and from any agency that has to pay compensation is that they do not have to pay all the money up-front. If a person dies early, they save money.'

Some government agencies, such as the NHS trusts, have agreed to make structured settlements instead of lump sum payments. However, the CICB denies that it has the power to do so, despite government claims to the contrary.

Another body sometimes unable to make such payments is The Motor Insurers Bureau, the body that pays compensation to victims of car accidents when the driver at fault is uninsured.

The MIB can be ordered by a court to pay structured settlements when the uninsured driver has been traced and can be sued. However, if the driver is not caught, the MIB does not have the power to make annual payouts.

Peter Spurgeon, a CICB director, acknowledged that a Law Commission report in 1992 had recommended the use of structured settlements for agencies such as his own.

But he said: 'There are some difficulties with this approach, which are acknowledged by the Law Commission. We are not a statutory scheme and the payments we make are made ex gratia.'

Were the Government to place the compensation scheme on a statutory footing, it might still be unwilling to consider using insurance company annuity schemes as a way of funding staggered settlements. 'The third element was that since the scheme has gone through change to a tariff form of compensation - which amounted to a lot of work - the amount of additional work needed to take this question forward was beyond our gift then,' Mr Spurgeon added.

'I do think it is one of the issues that needs to be considered very carefully. I do not want anyone to think this is going to be easy. There is no timetable for our considerations.'

(Photograph omitted)

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

£350 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

Java Developer - Banking - London - Up to £560/day

£500 - £560 per day: Orgtel: Java Developer FX - Banking - London - Up to £560...

HR Business Analyst, Bristol, £350-400pd

£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Account Manager - (Product & Account Management, Marketing)

£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Account Manager - (Produc...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on