Personal injury compensation is often heavily publicised in the press – for example Mr A was awarded £200,000 for breaking his arm in a work incident!
However, this sensationalising doesn’t really paint a true picture of the compensation or detail how it is broken down. There are many factors which affect the level of compensation which need to be assessed in each situation.
There are two headings to the total compensation:
- General damages
- Special damages
What are general damages?
General damages are what people usually think of when they think of personal injury compensation – it is compensation for the injury itself.
This will include compensation for pain, suffering and the inability to do things which you could do before the accident. It will also include any potential future loss of earnings if your earning capacity has been reduced or the prognosis for your injury is for a long recovery time.
Calculating the amount of the compensation for the injury itself is generally governed by the Judicial College Guidelines, as well as having regard to similar cases that have come before the courts and depends on the type of injury.
What are special damages?
This is known somewhat to a lesser extent. This is the actual financial loss caused by the accident up to the date of the hearing and future losses and expenses thereafter. This can include reimbursement for the following:
- Belongings damaged in the accident which need replacing
- Travel costs to medical appointments;
- Medical expenses:
- – Prescriptions
- – over the counter medication
- – private treatment, i.e. physiotherapy
- cost of hiring or repairing a car
- care costs:
- – necessary private care
- – care provided by family members
The purpose of special damages is to put you back in the position you would have been if you had never had the accident.
Will anything be deducted from these?
Depending on the circumstances, there are two ways in which compensation can be reduced:
- Contribution – this is where the compensation can potentially be reduced if you in some way contributed or were partly to blame for the accident. The most common examples of this is failing to wear a seatbelt or being partly to blame for a car crash;
- Compensation Recovery Unit benefits – This is not technically a deduction from your damages. If you received certain social security benefits following the accident, you will be required to repay these out of your compensation back to the Government. The rationale is that you shouldn’t double recover for the same incident and is a fundamental principal among many areas of law.
If you have been injured in an accident and you want to discuss whether you can claim compensation, please give our specialist personal injury Solicitors in Leeds, Wakefield, Bradford, Manchester and London in 0113 299 4431.