Following on from his appointment with a solicitor, Taylor the Tomcat had some good news this week when we received an admission of liability from the Local Authority. This means, that in effect, Taylor has won his claim. The next step is for us to value Taylor’s injuries and his associated out-of-pocket expenses (known as “special losses”).
Personal injury damages are broken down into two parts. The first is the damages for the injuries and the associated consequences. This is known as “Pain, Suffering and Loss of Amenity”. In order to quantify this, we need a report from a medical expert. Before instructing the expert, we wrote to Taylor’s GP for copies of his medical notes. These can sometimes take a few weeks to arrive. When they come through we review them carefully, to make sure that the details of the accident are recorded accurately, and to check whether there are any pre-existing medical issues we should make the Expert aware of. Often, we need to organise the medical notes so they are in date order, which makes it easier for the medical expert to review the notes before the examination appointment.
Taylor’s injuries were relatively minor, so we sent him to a local GP who provides personal injury reports, who is not Taylor’s usual GP. It is important that the expert has not treated the injured person so they may provide a fully independent report. This is another reason why we check medical records carefully. The GP reviewed his medical notes and, when he arrived for his appointment, gave Taylor a questionnaire to fill in about the injuries suffered and the effects they had on him. Once he had completed it, the doctor examined him and asked him about the accident and how his injuries had affected his ability to work, his hobbies, home life and how much care and assistance he had received amongst other things.
After the examination, the medical expert wrote his report and we received it a few weeks later. We reviewed it carefully and asked Taylor to check it for factual accuracy. The expert gave his view on the duration of Taylor’s injuries and also gave an opinion on the reasonableness of the help he had received and the time he had taken off work.
The second part of damages are known as “Special Losses”. These are the reasonable expenses incurred and to be incurred by a person as a consequence of their injury. Once the medical report was approved by Taylor we had a chat about his special losses. In Taylor’s case they included his loss of earnings, taxi fares to the GP and the cost of a prescription. Fortunately, Taylor had kept a receipt for the taxi fare and prescription and, since he works here, it was only needed a quick email to our HR department for a printout proving his loss of earnings. There are many types of special loss that can be claimed, but that is a subject for another blog, on another day.
Next time- Part 5 – negotiating Taylor’s compensation with the Defendant.