What can I claim for in an injury claim if I have been hurt?
John here again to answer this question, one that I am often asked.
Put very simply, there are two types of compensation or “damages” that you can claim for if you have been hurt in an accident. The first kind of compensation relates to the pain and suffering caused and the second kind of compensation relates to financial losses suffered as a result of the accident.
Before you can even think about the value of a claim, you actually have to have a good claim in the first place. We have a fault-based legal system. The legal term for fault is liability. Unless somebody is liable for your accident and the injuries and losses caused in it, it’s unlikely that you have a claim. There are some unusual circumstances where you might still have a claim. I would suggest that you simply ring us if you have any questions or any doubts about that.
So, assuming that you have a good claim, how do we value the compensation that you ought to receive for your pain and suffering?
The damages for “pain, suffering and loss of amenity” are usually referred to as General Damages. For these General Damages to be assessed, expert medical evidence has to be obtained as a part of the claim. Put very simply, the more serious the injury or injuries that you have suffered, the higher the value for your general damages is likely to be.
The level of general damages tends to creep up over time, with inflation. However, general damages are not particularly high in this country, in comparison to some other jurisdictions. To give you a couple of examples, as at the date of this blog, you can expect to receive somewhere between £77,000 and £111,000 for the above knee amputation of one leg. For a less serious injury, such as a relatively uncomplicated fracture of the forearm, you could expect to receive somewhere between £4900 and £15,500.
The picture becomes complicated if you make a less than complete recovery. There is also the fact that no two people are the same. some people recover more quickly than others and factors such as age and fitness can come into it. Expert medical opinion is crucial to the valuation of this part of the claim.
The reference to “loss of amenity” relates to the way in which your life might have been affected by the accident and the injury suffered. For instance, you might be a very keen artist or sportsperson and the injuries might stop you from following those pursuits. The law recognises that you have suffered more than just normal pain and suffering. You have also lost the potential to enjoy something that you loved doing as well.
Turning to the financial losses suffered as a result of the accident, these tend to be more straightforward and obvious, but that is not always the case.
The basic principle is that you can claim for those losses and expenses that you’ve incurred solely and exclusively as a result of the accident. The idea is that the compensation ought to put you back in the position as if the accident had never happened. For instance, if you are unable to work for six months and you are not paid for that entire period, then you ought to be able to claim for the exact net loss of earnings suffered throughout plus a little interest for the fact that there was a delay in receiving it.
I always say to my clients that if you are in any doubt as to whether a particular financial loss might or might not be recoverable in your claim, then keep proof of it and tell me about it as soon as possible. I will be able to advise you whether or not is recoverable. It is better to assume that it is recoverable, rather than to lose the chance of ever claiming for it.
Sometimes you can end up with cases where the damages for pain and suffering and for financial losses overlap. For instance, if a professional footballer broke his leg and could never play again, it is likely that he would have a hefty claim for the pain and suffering damages, a further claim for loss of amenity because he can no longer do something he loves and a large loss of earnings claim.
I’m sure that you start to get the picture!
For now, my simple advice is that if you are in any doubt over whether you have a claim for compensation, or whether you can claim for anything in particular, give me or Lorraine a call for free, or click on the case evaluation button below. We would be happy to talk to you and give you the benefit of our advice.
That’s all for now,