If you have been the victim of medical negligence and have suffered injury as a result you may be entitled to claim compensation for any injuries and losses caused by the negligent treatment. The compensation claim consists of general damages and special damages.
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (i.e. quality of life) caused by the negligent treatment. The presence of an underlying or pre-existing illness or injury can often complicate the assessment of general damages in clinical negligence cases. Compensation will only be awarded for injuries caused by the negligence and sometimes the negligent treatment will have made no difference to the eventual outcome. Therefore the issue of causation always requires careful consideration in assessing general damages in clinical negligence cases.
How much is my injury claim worth?
The assessment of general damages for pain, suffering or loss of the amenities of life is a subjective task. All cases are different and no monetary award can properly compensate for these losses. In assessing an award of general damages it is necessary to consider the level and duration of the pain and suffering experienced and the impact of the injury on the particular individual. It is also necessary to consider the age and occupation of the individual and whether they had any pre-existing conditions which may have been aggravated or accelerated by the negligent treatment.
The value of the award will be primarily based on expert medical reports dealing with the injuries sustained as well as witness statements, photographs and video evidence with reference to the Judicial College Guidelines and reported case law i.e. cases that have previously been to court and an assessment of damages made.
A Claimant is entitled to claim all reasonable past and future losses suffered as a result of the negligent treatment.
A detailed schedule of past and future loss will be prepared during your claim. This will provide a breakdown of the financial losses and expenses that have been incurred as a result of the Defendant’s negligence and the losses and expenses which will be incurred in the future as a consequence of the negligence. The schedule is an important document and its purpose is to persuade the Defendant or the trial judge of the value of the claim. The schedule will itemise and justify each head of claim and will explain how the amounts claimed have been calculated.
A detailed schedule of loss will often include the following heads of claim:-
- Loss of income/earnings. This can include loss of overtime, shift allowance, lost holidays or other employment benefits. It should also include any salary increases to the date of trial. Future loss of earnings claims should consider the loss of promotion prospects.
- Care. This can include both care provided on a gratuitous basis by friends and family plus the cost of any professional care, case management and support which have been incurred and will be required in the future.
- Aids and equipment. The cost of buying and replacing aids and equipment which have been incurred and will be required in the future.
- Medical treatment. The cost of private medical treatment, prescriptions, medication and medical equipment which have been incurred and will be required in the future.
- Accommodation. The cost of adapting your current property or purchasing a new property can be claimed plus additional running costs.
- Travel expenses. The cost of additional transport costs can be claimed which can include a new or adapted vehicle.
- Pension loss. This will often arise where an injury has prevented the Claimant from working or making contributions to his pension.
- Court of Protection Costs. If the Claimant does not have capacity and the award is to be managed by the Court of Protection costs will be incurred including the cost of a professional Deputy.
Please note it is your duty to take reasonable steps to reduce your losses. You should always follow carefully any medical evidence given as failure to do so could lead to a reduction in any damages which you might receive.