An important thing to understand about personal injury law is that compensation awarded is not based on the accident or the injury itself – it is awarded for the impact that it has on the victim’s life.
Obviously, the nature of the injury and how it occurred is integral to our investigations and to establishing fault; but when determining how much a claim is worth, we need to understand how severely the injury will affect a person’s life. So even though two injuries may seem similar, the award of damages, known as ‘Pain, Suffering and Loss of Amenity”, is tailored to the individual.
Here are some examples to help explain how this works in practice:
Facial scarring – If a middle aged man was left with a 3cm scar on his forehead, it would typically be worth around £2000. However, if a teenager suffered the same injury, it could be worth £10,000 or more, particularly if it causes great embarrassment leading to psychological conditions such as anxiety.
Whiplash – If a victim of whiplash to the neck and back recovered within 6 months, they may be awarded £2500. If it happened just before their wedding, a holiday of a life time or if it prevented them from taking part in an important sporting event, the claim could be worth much more as they would suffer more upset than an average person.
Loss of earnings – this is an important consideration in most personal injury cases. If person A earns £400 per week and they are unable to work for two weeks, they would have £800 included in their award for loss of earnings. However, if person B suffers the same injury but is unemployed, they would not recover any loss of earnings, so the two claim amounts would differ.
Other considerations that can affect a claim include:
The judge that decides how much a claim is worth. This will only happen when both parties cannot agree a settlement, but judges’ approaches can vary. Some are more generous than others.
Unpaid care and assistance provided by friends and relatives and sums paid for services that the victim would usually carry out themselves, such as gardening, decorators, taxis and the like.
Ruined holidays If an injured person’s holiday is ruined by their injury; the nature of the pre-booked holiday would affect the damages awarded. If person A was going on a worldwide trip, they would recover more than person B, who is going to a caravan on the East Coast.
The best way to secure the right amount of damages for your injury is to instruct an experienced personal injury solicitor who can meet with you face to face, who will get to know you and take care to really understand how your injury has and may continue to impact on your life.
I’m hoping to enjoy another Sheffield United victory tomorrow, followed by watching the Yorkshire Half Marathon which starts outside our offices and passes close to my local pub. Enjoy your weekend.