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The compensation you can receive following a successful personal injury claim is calculated by adding together two types of compensation: general damages and special damages.
Awarded to compensate you for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity associated with your injury. The amount that you may be entitled to is worked out based on the type of injury and how serious the injury is.
Relate to the financial loss you have suffered and / or any costs which you have incurred as a result of your injury.
Personal injury general damages are designed to compensate you for the impact your injury or illness has on your life. You will almost certainly have suffered pain as a consequence of your accident, but you might well also have been left with a disability or disfigurement which impacts your ability to live your life as you did previously.
General damages can also be awarded to compensate you for the stress of the accident and any ongoing mental trauma you experience.
The amount of money which can be claimed is based on the nature and severity of the injury or illness you experience (primarily based on the areas of the body affected).
As it would clearly be impossible to properly calculate the “pain and suffering” felt by everyone making a personal injury claim, our legal system uses a standard guide to compensation level called the Judicial College Guidelines. These guidelines, updated on a regular basis to reflect recent judicial decisions, provide a starting point for your legal team, and the court, when considering the level of compensation which is appropriate for your claim.
The guidelines set out the accepted compensation amounts for a wide spectrum of injuries to, including different monetary values for moderate or severe injuries, and are used by legal teams when working on settlement agreements and the courts when calculating awards.
Part of the job of your dedicated solicitor will be to understand the consequences of your accident and to ensure that you receive the appropriate compensation for what has happened.
Although the Judicial College Guidelines make it relatively straightforward to provide a rough estimate of a potential compensation claim for a single injury, claims involving multiple injuries are more complicated.
The courts will not simply add together the amounts which might be awarded for each individual injury; they may choose to award compensation for the main injury in full, and make an additional award for further injuries, but at a reduced level from the amount of a typical individual claim.
This is where an experienced, dedicated solicitor is invaluable in providing advice in relation to the possible value of your claim at the beginning of the process.
Special damages are to compensate you for the actual financial costs of your accident. This can relate to money you have spent as a result of your injury, as well as money which you have been unable to earn due to the accident.
Special damages claims could be made for:
This can include money that you were unable to earn because you had to take time off work, but can also include loss of potential future earnings if your injury led to a reduction in your salary or forced you to change to a job with a lower wage.
If you have to have an extended period of time off work, and that results in you missing out on a bonus to which you would have otherwise been entitled, you may be entitled to claim that amount as special damages.
This can include short-term expenses such as consultation fees, hospital charges and paying for medicines, as well as long-term costs such as physiotherapy treatment
If your injuries are such that you now require care provision, the cost of accessing that care may also be covered by a special damages claim.
If you are required to make changes to your home or car as a result of your injuries, special damages may cover the costs of making these required adjustments.
If your accident also resulted in damage being cause to your personal property, you may also be able to make a special damages claim to compensate you for the actual cost of repairing or replacing it.
You may also be able to claim special damages in relation to the reasonable costs of travelling which relate to your injury (to hospital or for medical appointments, for example).
Calculating special damages is much easier than general damages because they seek to compensate you for the actual financial costs which resulted from your injury. Your solicitor will work with you to agree on the future costs of care and loss of earning potential, and this will be added to any money which you have already had to spend.
To ensure that you have the strongest possible claim, make sure that you keep hold of all receipts and records which relate to anything you spend as a result of your accident.
It is likely that certain amounts will be deducted from any amount which is awarded to you. Things which may be taken from your compensation are:
We will represent you on a No Win No Fee basis, so you will pay us nothing in the unlikely event that your claim is unsuccessful. If, as we would expect to, you do recover compensation, we charge a success fee usually between 15% and 20%, which will be deducted from the amount you receive. This will be made clear to you when we agree to take the case on.
Our No Win No Fee agreement only covers our solicitor’s fees. Additional costs such as medical expert fees may also be deducted from your compensation.
The compensation you receive for the injuries you have suffered may be reduced if it is found by the court (or you agree as part of a settlement) that you were partly to blame for the accident. The amount of the deduction will depend on the level of responsibility each party takes for the accident (e.g. if you were 50% responsible, you would receive only 50% of the compensation you have claimed).
After the Event insurance covers you for any costs which you might have to pay to the defendant if your claim is unsuccessful. if you choose to take out such a policy, you will have to pay for your policy if your claim is successful. At PSR Solicitors we never ask any of our clients to obtain an ATE insurance policy. We cover the costs for them if they lose.
We believe that this is a much better scheme for our clients as ATE insurers can often exert some control over the case whereas by, in effect, self-insuring our clients the only people in control of the case are us.
While you do not have to pay tax on any compensation you receive, if you receive interest of any part of the amount you are awarded, the party paying that interest will deduct tax from that interest payment before it is made.
Our expert personal injury solicitors will be able to identify early on whether the circumstances of your accident, and the evidence you have of what happened, combine to form the basis of a strong case. Here are a few key things to bear in mind.
Take photos of the scene of the accident and your initial injuries; save any communication between you and anyone else involved in the incident; retain all receipts relating to costs you have incurred which relate to your injuries.
As well as an experienced lawyer, you will need expert medical advice in relation to your injuries; you need to know the exact extent of your current injuries, as well as the chances of any further complications in the future. We have a huge amount of experience advising clients on how to deal with medical experts and can advise you about the advice you receive.
You don’t have to rely on only one medical report, especially a report written by your GP who will not be an expert in your particular injury.
Once you receive your medical report, it is important to read it carefully to ensure that it contains all the issues which are affecting you as a result of your accident. We can assist you with the process of carefully analysing the report to ensure that it fully meets your needs.
You must also ensure that you talk about anything which you think might have changed in your health, lifestyle or behaviour following your injury; some people are uncomfortable talking about issues with their mental health, but if you are having difficulty sleeping or have noticed that you are more irritable since your accident, this may be due to stress or anxiety caused by the event.
Make sure that you discuss everything with us, and your medical expert, so that we can help you to determine whether something should be included in your claim.
Appointments can be arranged by phone, Zoom or Skype video call or in person at one of our local offices.
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