If you have suffered personal injury as a result of an accident, you may be entitled to claim compensation for your injuries, out of pocket expenses and financial losses.
Compensation will usually consist of general damages, special damages and future losses.
General damages are awarded for the injuries sustained and specifically pain, suffering and loss of amenity i.e. the extent to which your quality of life has been adversely affected. General damages are also awarded if your injuries have left you at a disadvantage on the open labour market or you have been left unable to do the job that you loved or for the loss of enjoyment of a holiday.
The value of an award of general damages will primarily depend upon the severity and duration of the injuries. It is necessary to consider established guidelines and previously decided cases.
Special damages are financial losses and expenses which you have suffered as a result of the accident. The most common items of special damage in a works accident claim are:-
- Loss of earnings: To include loss of overtime, shift allowance, holidays and other employment benefits
- Pension loss: If your injury has prevented you from working or making contributions to your pension plan.
- Care: The cost of professional care provided and for care and assistance provided on a gratuitous basis by friends and family.
- Case manager: A professional case manager may be required in cases of serious injuries to implement care and rehabilitation.
- Medical treatment: The cost of medication, medical equipment, medical treatment and therapies.
- Travel expense: The cost of any travel expenses incurred as a result of your accident to include the cost of attending medical appointments.
- Aids & equipment: The cost of any aids or equipment required as a result of your injuries.
- Clothing & possessions: The cost of any items of clothing and possessions damaged in the accident or additional items purchased
- Accommodation: The cost of any additional accommodation costs incurred as a result of your injuries such as the cost of adapting your property or even purchasing a new property.
- Court of Protection costs: In serious injury cases, it may be necessary to involve the Court of Protection. The costs can be claimed including the cost of a professional deputy.
It is important that all past losses and expenses incurred are evidenced by documentary evidence including wage slips, accounts, invoices and receipts.
Future losses & expenses
The calculation of losses and expenses up to the date of trial will be an arithmetical exercise but the claim for future losses and expenses can be more difficult. Many items of past loss will be ongoing expenses which must be claimed in the future but there will be other expenses identified by the experts. This part of the claim can be substantial particularly where your injuries have left you unable to return to work or requiring ongoing care and assistance.
The calculation of future losses can be complex and at times uncertain. It will rely heavily on the experts to identify your future needs and the losses and expenses that will be incurred. Any claim for future loss of earnings should take into account any pay increases and consider your likely career path if the accident had not occurred. It will also be necessary to assess residual post-accident earning capacity and the effectiveness of vocational rehabilitation and re-training.
The claim for future care should provide for the need for additional care at different stages of your life and should provide for contingencies such as a relationship breakdown which could increase your care requirements.
Please note that it is your duty to take reasonable steps to mitigate your losses. You should always follow carefully any medical advice given, as failure to do so could lead to a reduction in your award of damages.
For specialist advice tailored to your circumstances, please contact our work injury solicitors on 0800 980 9390 or use our contact form below and we will be in touch.