When pursuing a claim for Personal Injury, many people would like to know from the outset, how much compensation they should expect to receive.
Unfortunately we are usually unable to give an accurate estimate at the start of a claim, particularly if your symptoms are ongoing and you are not yet fully recovered. We normally base our valuation on medical evidence which will be obtained at a later stage of the claim.
When we come to the valuation stage, there are two types of awards of damages to be made: General Damages and Special Damages.
General damages relate to the injuries you have suffered as a result of the accident. These are calculated using the Judicial College Guidelines, which provide suggestions as to what amounts should be awarded for specific types of injuries. These are also split into higher and lower amounts, depending on the severity and duration of the injury sustained. If your symptoms were permanent, or you recovered within three months of the accident, the guidelines have suggestions as to the value of your injury. We also use records of previous cases in which Judges have made awards for similar cases.
Examples of the current JCG guidelines include:-
- A neck injury with a full recovery within 3 months – up to £2150
- A minor wrist fracture requiring a plaster cast or bandaging with a full recovery within 12 months – £3090 to £4160
- Loss of sense of smell £21,950 to £28,860
- Very severe brain damage £247,280 to £354,260 (this is the highest valued category in the Guidelines).
Special Damages are the financial losses you suffer as a result of the accident. These include both past and future losses. Loss of earnings is one of the most common special damages. The category also includes items such as prescription charges, non-prescription medication, travel expenses, damaged clothing, care and assistance provided by family members or carers, ruined holidays, cancellation charges, unused gym memberships and other items. These will all be calculated by us and added to your general damages.
Special Damages can also include future losses if your injury is permanent or you will have future symptoms that will end at some point. For example, if you are unable to carry out the same job as before and you earn less than you did before the accident (or even lose your job if your disability prevents you from working), your claim will include a calculated sum to represent your future loss of earnings. You may also recover costs of future treatment, medical expenses, hearing aids, pension losses, transport and any other items you would not have had to pay for had it not been for your injury.
These lists are not exhaustive. There are many losses suffered as a result of the accident that you will be able to claim for, provided they have or will be incurred as a result of your injury.
In minor injury claims, the General Damages are often worth more than the Special Damages, but in serious injury cases with permanent disabilities, the Special Damages, particularly past and future loss of earning and past and future care and assistance will be greater than the General Damages award. For example:-
- A person who suffers from a sprained ankle who loses a week from work and eventually recovers from all their symptoms in six months might recover £2500 for the injury, £400 for lost earnings, £20 for travel costs and medication and £60 for care and assistance
- Another person suffers a more serious ankle injury and cannot return to their job as a manual worker. They might receive around £20,000 for the injury, but if they have a permanent disability and will suffer lost wages for say 15 years before they retire, the lost past and future earnings claim might be £100,000 or more.
Often we will give you a range of valuations for your injury from a lower amount (which we think a mean judge would award you) to a higher amount which we think you might recover from a very generous judge at Court, so you know between what figures your claim might be valued.
If, for example, we told you that your claim was worth between £5000 and £7000, we would try and obtain an award of damages of 7k or more, but would advise you that any offer of 5k or more should be taken seriously as we could not guarantee that you would be given more than that by a Court.
If you have suffered an accident and would like some advice about whether you can make a claim, call our expert Solicitors on 0114 218 4000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.