I am suffering from a serious or chronic physical or mental illness. OR I am on medication. - If your illness or medication affected you, which meant your actions were not intentional or deliberate, this may be a Defence to the Claim, so it is important that you tell us. If your illness or medication did not cause the incident, but has a significant and negative effect upon your life, it will be taken into account if you advise us and provide supporting evidence.
What kind of evidence is needed in support of my health circumstances? - A letter from your doctor, hospital or support worker that provides information on your health circumstances/medication and how it affects you. Copies of prescriptions/medication labels clearly showing name and date of issue and any information from yourself advising how you believe your health issues/medication impacted upon your behaviour can assist. We can only take matters into account when we are advised and evidence is supplied in support.
I don’t feel comfortable sending such personal information – It is appreciated that this is sensitive information. Such information is held following strict adherence to Data Protection Act principles. This information will not be shared and is solely used to determine impact upon intent and evidentially support the circumstances you are offering in mitigation of the claim.
I will supply you my doctor’s details so you can contact them - Unfortunately, as a third party, under the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998 we are unable to obtain information directly from your doctor. It is better for you to obtain it in writing and then supply it to us.
The person involved in the incident is vulnerable/young/in care - If the person is vulnerable or in care and has mitigating difficulties, their social or care worker can write in with their circumstances so that these may be taken into account in relation to the incident.
The person involved in the incident is vulnerable and lacks the capacity to fully understand or deal with this claim - All reasonable steps are taken to identify vulnerabilities and cases are not proceeded where there is a known vulnerability from the outset. If you wish to make representations on a vulnerable person’s behalf, you need to either provide their consent, or sufficient information of the vulnerability, for us to assess the balance of their rights of privacy under the DPA against the risk to the them of not having the capacity to respond to the Claim. This is in accordance with guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”).
The person involved in the incident has mental health issues, it’s a disgrace that you have written to them - Businesses and the Police undertake some standard checks to establish whether there are any vulnerabilities or mental health issues that should be considered. However, it is only a medically qualified person that can make such an informed determination regarding a person’s mental health. Each person is assessed as far as can be expected by what they say, how they present themselves and whether they make any representations at the time of the incident. As soon as we are advised of such circumstances and evidence provided, we can take the appropriate action.
You do not understand my mental health issues - There are certain mental health conditions that have clear behaviour patterns, however, it is certainly true that only a specialist in mental health and those affected by mental health issues can truly understand an individual’s situation. Indeed, those with mental health conditions are affected in many different ways. In such circumstances, a letter from your specialist/support worker outlining your issues will allow the appropriate action to be taken.
My health issues mean, I act on impulse without thinking/I am not fully aware of my actions – Whilst there is sympathy for such circumstances, a person needs to take steps (such as not shopping alone) to reduce their likelihood of further incidents given the risks to themselves and businesses.
I was under pressure from others - By the age of 14 a person is deemed responsible for their actions. Although not legally obliged to do so, businesses would take into account mitigating factors such as any kind of peer pressure/coercion if information is provided.
I was young and silly and didn’t think of the consequences - Where someone is young, a business may offer a significant discount to the claim amount in the hope that if they have to pay from their own money, it will serve as a deterrent in the future.
What if I Cannot Afford to Pay or Need More Time to Pay? - You may contact us and ask for your financial circumstances to be considered. You may be asked to send information and evidence on your financial circumstances. You could be offered an instalment plan, a reduced settlement or a future payment date. In certain circumstances of long term severe financial hardship, a claim may be indefinitely suspended. We cannot advise on options if you do not contact us.
I am in financial hardship – Financial circumstances will be considered upon receipt of evidence to support financial difficulties. Outcomes depend upon information supplied and each individuals own circumstances.