When you have been involved in an accident that is not your fault you may be entitled to claim compensation for your injuries and losses (both past and future). The claim is broken down into two elements, general and special damages.
General damages is the award of compensation made in respect of your injuries. You will be compensated not only for your pain and suffering but also loss of amenity (i.e. quality of life), including lost promotion or other opportunities, disadvantage in the labour market (i.e future difficulty in finding a job), inability to carry out day to day tasks and your pre accident hobbies.
How much is my injury claim worth?
There are many factors to take into account when assessing the amount of compensation you are entitled to. Consideration is given to the level of pain and suffering you have experienced, how long it will take for you to recover, whether any symptoms are likely to cause long term or even permanent problems, to what extent your day to day life has been affected, whether you have lost enjoyment of holidays and whether it will now be more difficult for you to find or secure employment in the future. Consideration is also given to pre-existing problems which may have been aggravated or accelerated by the accident.
Calculating the amount of damages you are entitled to is never an exact science. Medical reports from independent doctors are used to assess the injury sustained and the doctors will be asked to give a prognosis for the future. Your claim will be valued based on the medical evidence obtained with reference to the court guidelines and previously decided cases which have been to court.
Special damages are the financial losses incurred as a result of the injuries suffered. During your claim you will be asked to provide details of your expenses so that a Schedule of Special Damages can be prepared on your behalf. This is the formal document which sets out your financial losses, both past and future. Examples of special damages which can be included in your claim are:-
- Loss of earnings which can include loss of overtime, shift allowance, lost holiday or other employment benefits. It also includes future lost earnings, loss of pension or loss of promotion.
- The cost of retraining if you are unable to return to your pre accident job as a result of the injury sustained.
- Private medical treatment, rehabilitation and counselling. A claim can also be made for private treatment which may be required in the future.
- The cost of prescriptions, medication or medical equipment, both past and future.
- Care and assistance including professional fees and unpaid care provided by friends and family, including additional care and assistance you may require in the future.
- Aids to assist you in your everyday life.
- Adaptations to your home.
- Costs to cover any jobs or tasks which you are unable to complete around the house or in the garden.
- Additional transport costs including additional costs incurred by others.
- Items which have been lost or damaged in the accident.
- The cost of repairs to the vehicle and/or insurance policy excess, hire charges, vehicle recovery and storage charges.
- In cycling accidents the cost of bike repairs/replacement and for replacement clothing and specialist equipment.
Please note 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.