piDifferent types of Damages

What are general damages?

This is the compensation for the "pain, suffering and loss of amenity" [PSLA] sustained by the victim of the accident.

The amount of the damages will depend on the severity of the injury, the speed and extent of recovery and the effect that it has had and will have on that individual's lifestyle. It will normally be necessary to obtain a medical report from an appropriate doctor about the extent of the injury. Sometimes it is necessary to involve more than one specialist. It is often helpful to keep a diary recording the pain that you suffer from, particular difficulties you encounter, events or activities that you are missing out on, care or help that has been provided to you by a member of your family, or friends. It is also helpful to record trips you make to the Hospital, GP or other medical advisors and the expenses you incur. Claims can, on occasions, take years to conclude and a note made at the time can be invaluable.

Normally you get one chance to settle your claim on a "once and for all basis".  Before we can advise you what your claim is worth we need to know, as far as we can, what your future holds before we can assess the level of damages to which you may be entitled. It can be dangerous to proceed on the basis of an uncertain or unclear prognosis. It is normally preferable to wait until the recovery process is complete or has been completed as far as possible.

How are general damages assessed?

In injury cases, once all the medical evidence has been obtained your case can be considered with the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines - which are produced periodically. They are usually the first authority that most lawyers, including the Judge will look at. It is then usually necessary to consider other cases which have been decided by the Courts in England and Wales where similar injuries have been sustained. That helps to fix your case within the appropriate bracket. Many such cases are reported and we subscribe to a number of specialist periodicals, which keep us fully up to date about the awards being made. We also have access through the Internet to the most up to date information.

Below is an extract from the Guidelines produced by the Judicial Studies Board providing an indication of the types of awards expected for different injuries:

Paraplegia £120,000 to £155,000

Total blindness In the region of £147,500

Minor back injury (recovery within approx 2 yrs) Up to £4,250

Fracture of 1 finger £1,500 to £2,600

Leg injury (simple fracture of a femur) £5,000 to £7,750

What are special damages?

Special damages are out of pocket expenses and monetary losses - such as travel expenses, clothing or lost earnings. They can include claims for domestic help, pension losses and nursing care.

Please retain any payslips, invoices or receipts in support of your claim.

Special damages can be both expenses that you have already incurred and also expenses and losses that you may incur in the future. It is not unusual that the claim for loss of earnings or care is the largest part of the claim. This varies from case to case and from individual to individual. It is for this reason that comparing your case with those you read about in the press may be misleading because every case is different and you may not be comparing like with like.

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