Brain and spinal injury claims will often involve many different heads of claim and it will be necessary to obtain reports from multiple experts both medical and non medical.
Damages fall into 2 categories; general damages and special damages.
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and the impact the injury has had on an injured person’s life. Working out a figure for this element of a claim is difficult as no two injuries and their effects are the same. Awards are calculated by reference to established guidelines and previous cases that have been valued at court.
General damages are valued primarily on the expert medical evidence obtained and therefore it is essential that the right team of experts are instructed to cover all of your injuries and their effects.
The level and duration of pain and suffering experienced is an important factor in assessing the value of the award. The impact of the injuries on daily life will take into account such things as an inability to work, to take part in sports or hobbies, the impact on a person’s lifestyle and enjoyment of life.
Pain and suffering relates to psychological as well as physical injuries.
General damages can also be awarded if the injured person is at a disadvantage on the open labour market or suffers a loss of congenial employment (not being able to do a job they loved) or for the loss of enjoyment of a holiday.
Special damages are financial losses which have been caused by the injury. They can include both past and future losses. The most common heads of special damages in brain and spinal injury claims will include:-
- Loss of earnings: This can include loss of over time, shift allowance, lost holidays and other employment benefits. It should include any salary increases to the date of trial and claims for future loss should include loss of promotion prospects.
- Pension loss: This will arise where the injury has prevented the Claimant from working or making contributions to his pension plan.
- Care: This will include care and assistance provided on a gratuitous basis by friends and family plus the cost of professional carers and support workers. In serious injury cases it will often be necessary to employ a team of carers. Future care packages should provide for contingencies such as a relationship breakdown which would increase the need for commercial care.
- Case management: The appointment of a case manager is essential in serious injury cases to implement the care regime, arrange treatment and therapies and to provide support to the client and his family
- Aids & equipment: There are likely to be many items of aids and equipment which will be of benefit to the Claimant and improve his quality of life, including technological aids. Expert evidence from appropriate experts will be required.
- Accommodation: The cost of adapting an existing property or purchasing a new property can be claimed plus the cost of moving, furnishing, maintenance and repair.
- Travel expenses: The cost of additional transport costs can be claimed which can include a new or adapted vehicle.
- Court of Protection: If the Claimant does not have capacity, and the award is managed by the Court of Protection, costs will be incurred including the cost of a professional Deputy.
- Medical treatment and therapies: The cost of private medical treatment, therapies, prescriptions, medication and medical equipment.
- Holiday costs: There may be increased costs associated with holidays such as the need for additional carers, specialist equipment, flight upgrades and increased insurance.
- Clothing and possessions: Clothing and possessions damaged in the accident and additional items purchased as a result of the injuries.
Working out the past and future financial losses can be a complex exercise. We will ensure that all losses are properly calculated and that appropriate supporting evidence is obtained.
Please note that it is your duty to take reasonable steps to reduce your losses. You should always follow carefully any medical advice given as failure to do so could lead to a reduction in any damages which you might receive.