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What are general damages in claims for personal injuries?
The phrase ‘General damages’ in personal injury claims, in legal terms, relates to the compensation you can be awarded for ‘pain, suffering and loss of amenity’. General damages, in most cases, will often be the main part of the compensation claim that your solicitor can win for you.
In contrast, ‘special damages’ relates to financial losses and other additional corresponding areas.
Relevancy of general damages
Based on how severe your injuries are, general damages are relevant to your compensation claim in aspects of how long it took to recuperate, the amount of injuries you acquired, and whether there are any long term or enduring effects on your health. If your injury is severe and has stopped you from working later on in life, general damages can address this too. It also takes into consideration any possible promotions or pension entitlement which you may have been due. So, general damages takes into consideration any loss of wages both present and in the future.
Extra compensation can be recovered for loss of any congenial employment by the claimant. A vocational job that wasn’t just a standard job can be granted a general damage payment.
When you are no longer able to carry out job due to the long term effects of your serious injuries, general damages can cover this. General damages, in this example, isn’t just restricted to vocational careers such as police officers, fire fighters or nurses.
Loss of amenity
‘Loss of amenity’ is the entitlement to further compensation if your life has been substantially impacted by an accident and, therefore, you have to quit taking part in an activity you loved.
If you are an enthusiastic horse rider, for example, you may have had to completely give up horse riding because of your injuries. Loss of amenity would deal with this for you, no matter how temporary the injuries were.
Damages for loss of amenity can also deal with any changes that need to be made to your employment – perhaps required by your inability to accomplish tasks, or with your inability to carry out everyday domestic tasks around the home.
In suitable cases, your claims solicitor can even arrange compensation funding for rehabilitation sessions or on-going medical treatment to assist your recovery, at no additional cost to you.
Levels of compensation awarded for general damages
You will be get help so you can create a report with details of your injuries, following an examination by a medical expert and a thorough examination of your medical records.
This will be organised by your personal injury solicitor.
The medical specialist we can appoint on your behalf will also note any recommended treatment, or treatment you are already undergoing, along with details of when you might heal from your injuries. A copy will then be sent to you and your solicitor for your approval.
As part of the procedure of assessing the right level of damages for you, your solicitor will look at the levels of compensation paid out in comparable cases, as well as looking at the court’s guidelines based on particular injuries and their value.
If your case is complicated, or involved what is known as “a catastrophic injury” (for example, any spinal or brain injury), your solicitor might also involve a specialist barrister as part of your legal team to give additional advice about the correct level of compensation you should get.
Agreeing a financial settlement
Your solicitor will try to negotiate a settlement for you after submitting the report to the opponents’ insurers.
No agreement as to the level of settlement will ultimately be made without your say so.
Most personal injury compensation claims are settled in this way, thankfully, and it is only a very small number of claims that need to go to court for a final contested, where either the level of compensation itself or the responsibility for your injuries is still being argued
Special Damages for Your Personal Injury Claim
When you make a successful accident compensation claim, “General Damages” are paid to compensate your actual injuries, pain and suffering.
But what about your financial losses?
What are Special Damages?
“Special Damages” are paid in order to compensate you for costs incurred through the loss of earnings. They include any Medical expenses, travel costs and care and assistance.
If you were the victim of an accident that wasn’t your fault, these kind of costs can seriously threaten your financial security. Special damages are available to make sure that you are properly reimbursed.
Time off work caused by your injuries
If your injury has forced you into taking time off work and you have lost earnings as a result, it is important that your loss can be confirmed and calculated. You will need to provide 13 weeks of payslips which show your earnings for your accident, as well as any payslips received after the accident in order to show any subtractions from your income.
Evidence of income for the self-employed
If you are self employed, you will need to provide not only a copy of your accounts for the year of the accident, but also for the 3 previous years. Such documents can easily be misplaced, so don’t worry if you cannot find them, your accountant or employer will usually have a copy.
Your medical expenses can also be easily calculated. Just bring the receipts for any medicines, drugs or prescriptions and your personal injury solicitor can work to recover the costs.
Recovering travel costs
Similarly, Special damages may be paid if you have been forced into costly and unnecessary travel as a result of your accident, such as trips to the doctors, or hospital appointments. Taxi fares, bus fares, extra fuel costs and parking fees would all be covered and if you are unable to drive due to your injuries, then the cost of transport to the shops or to work could be reclaimed. Again, you should keep receipts for all such expenses or note any extra mileage if you’re driving.
Paying for practical everyday help
As you recover from your personal injury, you may require extra help at home from friends, family or even professionals. Domestic chores such as shopping or cleaning and even personal care such as bathing and dressing can become very challenging when injured. If you pay for professional assistance you should keep any receipts but if you require the help of friends or family, the loss will be quantified on a standard hourly basis instead.
It is important to remember that even if you can provide evidence to support all of your losses; it may not be deemed necessary to reimburse certain costs if they are considered unreasonable in relation to your injuries.
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