Damages, or compensation, in personal injury claims are intended to put the Claimant back in the position they would have been in had the wrong not occurred.
There are two heads or damages, General Damages and Special Damages; these are explained below. Please bear in mind that not all compensation claims entitle a Claimant to recover under each of the heads specified below; the existence of any claim will be investigated and advised upon by your solicitor.
General Damages are those damages which are not capable of precise calculation. These can include the following;
(a) Pain and Suffering
An award here is intended to compensate the Claimant for the pain and suffering arising from the injury both after the injury occurred and in the future. An award here may not only relate to the physical injury itself but also the psychological effects of the injury, such as, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
(b) Loss of Amenity
An award for loss of amenity is designed to compensate the Claimant for the loss of enjoyment of life which is attributable to the injury. An award here may include the loss of impairment of hobbies and sports or an interference with the Claimant’s sex life.
(c) Handicap on the open labour market
An award under this head would compensate the Claimant for the difficulties they may face in obtaining another job, if they have lost their current job because of the injury.
(d) Loss of earnings after the trial
An award here would be for the loss of earnings suffered by the Claimant after the trial.
(e) Loss of congenial employment
An award here would be for the loss of job satisfaction. For example, if a Claimant was injured and had to undertake different work, distinct from their craft, due to the injury sustained.
(f) The future cost of care or the future cost of specialist treatment
An award here will be made if the Claimant requires future care and the cost of specialist treatment.
(g) The loss of a pension
This will be a relevant factor if the Claimant, due to the injury, does not return to work or returns on a lower way; the Claimant may lose all or part of any pension entitlement they would have had if the injury had not occurred.
(h) The Loss of use of a motor vehicle
An award here is likely to be made following a Road Traffic Accident where the Claimant does not have use of their care, whilst being repaired, for a number of days or weeks and uses alternative transport methods.
Special Damages relate to those items of loss, attributable to the injury that can be mathematically calculated and are valued from the date of the injury to the date of any trial.
The main branches of special damages are as follows;
(a) Items of specific loss
An award under this head will be made for those items such as (1) damages or lost clothing as a result of the injury (2) prescription charges (3) costs of repairing a vehicle (4) damaged or lost items within the vehicle (5) taxi fares etc..
(b) Loss of earnings until the date of trial
An award here will be made in respect of the net loss of earnings from the date of the injury until the date of the trial. The figure will represent the amount that the Claimant would have earned after tax, national insurance and any contractual pension payments.
(c) Medical expenses prior to the trial
If the Claimant requires medical treatment, and there is for example a long waiting list on the NHS, the Claimant may go private in order to speed up the recovery process. An award will be made here if the costs are recoverable.
(d) Costs of services provided by a third-party
A third-party cannot claim against the Defendant for losses incurred to him as a result of the injury to the Claimant. However, a Claimant may recover the costs of third-party services provided to him providing such services were rendered necessary. For example, nursing services provided by relatives or friends.
(e) Those expenses that relate to the cost of living with disabilities prior to the trial
A Claimant may incur costs in adapting their environment to disabilities arising from the injury. Such items can include (1) adapting a family car to allow the Claimant to drive (2) costs of mobility vehicles or wheelchairs (3) installation of a stair lift (4) installation of accessible toilet facilities (5) adaptation or installation of new furniture.