In a personal injury case, the compensation is split into two different types of loss: general damages and special damages. The differences between the two types of damages are subtle but profound. We’ll start by discussing what general damages are before explaining what special damages are, and further breaking down the different types of special damages.
General damages refer to damages to the individual relating to pain or suffering caused by an injury. General damages cover physical or psychological damage caused directly by the accident, including loss of amenities. Because all injuries vary slightly from case to case, the amount received changes depending on the case and the severity of the injury. The amount is determined by your lawyer and is then either approved by the compensator or decided by a judge. The Judicial College Guidelines set out the parameters for valuations to ensure a general standard is adhered to.
difference with special damages is that they relate to financial losses caused
by the accident, rather than for any physical pain or psychological suffering
endured by the individual. Special damages also differ from general damages in
how they are calculated. Special damages have a fixed monetary value.
There are plenty of examples of special damages, here are just a few:
Loss of Earnings
If an injury results in the individual having to take a substantial amount of time off work, the injured person would be entitled to claim for the income they otherwise would have received had they been able to work. Sometimes this is in the form of sick pay rather than a loss of earnings. If this is the case and if for any reason you have to repay your company, this would be reflected in your claim, which would then cover the repayment.
Claims can be made for more than just loss of earnings, however. In some cases, depending on contract details, it may be possible to claim for loss of overtime or bonuses too. On top of this, if your company has a pension scheme it is also possible to claim for lost pension. If an injury requires the individual to take an early pension when they weren’t planning to, the compensation can be very large.
Self-employed people are also entitled to loss of earnings and loss of profit providing they can show accurately the sum they would’ve expected to receive by presenting accounts and tax returns as evidence.
Finally, if for whatever reason the injury causes the claimant to take a lower paid job because they are no longer physically able to do their previous job, they are entitled to compensation equal to the difference in the two salaries.
Fortunately in the UK we are lucky to have one of the best health services in the world, where we can get most treatments for free. However, if for whatever reason a person requires treatment above and beyond the scope of the NHS, or the person chooses to use private health care even if they could use the NHS, they are still entitled to have this covered by the claim. For example, physiotherapy, chiropractor visits, and dentistry can be used by the claimant in the knowledge they’ll be covered.
Similarly, the cost of any medicine needed can also be claimed for, including subscriptions and medical equipment.
Care & Assistance
In a lot of cases where someone has been injured, especially injuries serious enough to take time off work for, the injured person often requires care and assistance. Usually this care is provided by friends and family.
However in some cases the individual may not have anyone like that to help them and they may require assistance from a third-party care provider. In these cases, such expenses can be covered by your claim, and in some cases it is even possible to claim for the care provided by friends and family, even if they have not been paid for it.
Especially serious cases of injury, like paralysis or head injuries, can result in much larger pay-outs for care and assistance as it is likely they will require some form of daily care for the foreseeable future, which is significantly more expensive than a one off or a short spell of visits to a physiotherapist, for example.
If the injury requires the claimant to attend medical appointments to which they are required to travel, they would be able to claim compensation for these journeys. Things such as taxi fares, bus fares, mileage if travelling by car, and parking are all claimable.
By no means is this an exhaustive list all of the special damages that are available to be claimed, but it does give a good selection of the most common ones. Most expenses, if it can be proven that they were directly caused by the accident, can be claimed for in one way or another.
It is strongly advisable that you employ a qualified lawyer to assess your claim, as special damages can be especially hard to calculate. Making sure your claim is accurate and nothing is missed is in your interest as people who try to settle their own claims, more often than not, receive much less than those who contact a personal injury solicitor.
If you have been injured and need some assistance, the team here at Accident Solicitors Direct would love to help. We have over 35 years of experience in personal injury litigation, giving us the tools required to help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Give us a call on 0114 267 8780 or use our Make a Claim page to get started on your personal injury claim today.