Our lawyers are dedicated to representing people who have suffered serious injuries and work on their behalf to recover compensation payments to enable them to rebuild their lives.
If you have suffered a personal injury as a result of the negligence of someone else, either in a road traffic accident or whilst at work, you may be eligible to make a claim.
In this short article, we explain what personal injury compensation is, how it is calculated, and the timescales involved in making a claim.
What is Personal Injury Compensation?
Personal injury compensation is the money that will be paid to you by the losing party (usually the defendant), either by agreement or, when ordered by a Court.
How is Personal Injury Compensation Calculated?
Personal injury compensation is made up of 2 components:
General Damages: an amount for the injuries you sustained.
Special Damages (Financial Losses): an amount that represents your past and future financial losses.
The amount of compensation you receive on the settlement of your case, is dependent on many factors, including the severity of the injury sustained, loss of earnings and ongoing treatment and rehabilitation.
In general, serious personal injury cases, such as brain injury, spinal injury and injuries which result in amputations, attract higher levels of compensation because of the long-lasting impact they have on a person’s life.
General Damages is the amount of money paid to you by the defendant for the “pain, suffering and loss of amenity” caused by the accident. As you might expect, the level of general damages awarded will vary massively depending on the seriousness of your injury. Even where two people may have suffered a similar injury, there can be subtle differences which can affect the amount awarded.
This is one reason why it is so important to get the very best legal advice and representation for your case. It can make a big financial difference to the amount of compensation that you finally recover.
Medical reports from specialist experts who have met and examined you help to determine what level of compensation is payable.
The law does provide some broad guidance on the amount that can be recovered for different injuries which is set out in the JSB Guidelines. Some examples include:
- Paraplegia £192,090 to £249,270
- An above knee amputation of one leg £91,910 to £120,530
- Complete loss of sight in one eye £43,200 to £48,080
There are several additional heads of loss which fall under General Damages. These can include any handicap in the labour market caused by your injuries and the loss of congenial employment, often claimed by injured serviceman to account for the loss of a much-loved military career.
Whereas General Damages are based upon medical expert opinion, past and future financial losses, called ‘Special Damages’, are mostly fact based and provided you have gathered the evidence, they can be easier to prove and calculate.
As a Claimant, you are able to claim the reasonable expenses which have been incurred or will incur as a direct consequence of the accident and injuries. A non-exhaustive list of special damages is as follows:
- Paid and unpaid care and assistance
- Loss of earnings and pension
- Travel expenses
- Medication and medical aids and appliances
- Home adaptations
- Loss of domestic skills such as DIY and gardening
When can I start a claim for Personal Injury Compensation?
It’s beneficial to start your claim as soon as possible because under most circumstances, you need to either settle your claim or, start court proceedings within three years of the date of the accident.
In the case of an accident involving a child, the claim needs to be brought as soon as the accident happened, or a parent or guardian can make a claim up to the child’s 18th birthday. If a claim was not made in this time, an individual can make a claim on their 18th birthday and up to 3 years thereafter.
A claimant must be able to demonstrate that their injuries and associated losses are the result of someone else’s negligence. Our expert team can then help them build the strongest case possible, and the earlier the investigations into the accident circumstances the better the chances of success.
How long will it take to claim Personal Injury Compensation?
Personal injury claims vary significantly, depending on the nature of the accident and the injuries sustained. In some cases, a settlement can be reached in a few months, however this can take longer in more complex cases. Often this is because your injuries need to have had chance to settle before a long-term prognosis can be given.
Our expert solicitors are dedicated to securing the maximum level of compensation, as quickly as possible for our clients.
Sadly, we can’t turn back the clock to prevent negligence and accidents, and so the purpose of compensation in a personal injury claim is to restore you, so far as is possible, to the position you would have been in had the accident not occurred.