Personal Injury Special Damages
Personal Injury Special Damages – Introduction
Personal injury special damages form an important part of any personal injury compensation settlement you are entitled to. In some cases personal injury special damages can account for more than the compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced at the time of your personal injury when the consequences of that injury mean that you may never work again.
This guide aims to provide general information in regard to personal injury special damages, but is no substitute for receiving individual advice from a qualified personal injury solicitor. It is recommended that, should you have any questions about making a claim for personal injury special damages, you refer to the contact details for our Injury Claims Service below.
What Can I Claim Personal Injury Special Damages For?
The aim of personal injury special damages is to make up for any economic loss which is attributable to an injury or loss for which somebody else was to blame, and return your financial position to that which it would have been had the injury or loss never occurred.
Personal injury special damages can be claimed for practically any quantifiable expense which can be ascribed to your loss or injury. To make this easier to comprehend, it is sometimes more helpful to break down personal injury special damages into “incidental” special damages and “consequential” special damages.
Incidental special damages relate to costs incurred in remedying a situation. Therefore, if you have sustained a broken limb in a car crash accident while driving to the airport to catch a flight for your holiday, any expenses related to medical treatment (prescription charges and private treatment not available on the NHS) and costs incurred in repairing your vehicle could be recovered in “incidental” personal injury special damages.
Consequential special damages refer to any expense picked up as a consequence of your situation, and are far more comprehensive than the incidental special damages. In the example of a car accident while driving to the departure lounge of the airport above, you would be able to include among your personal injury special damages claim:-
- The expense of alternative transport while unable to drive
- The expense of a replacement holiday
- The expense of a home help or child carer if required
- The expense of re-structuring your home if you were permanently confined to a wheelchair
- Loss of salary, regular overtime and pension contributions
What personal injury special damages do not include are compensation for the stress of missing your holiday, compensation to account for the deterioration in your quality of life due to being unable to work, drive, socialise and perform day-to-day activities independently, and compensation for any psychological injury you may have experienced. These aspects of a personal injury claim are accounted for in personal injury general damages – an area which your legal representative will be able to explain in greater detail if required.
What about Personal Injury Special Damages and Contributory Negligence?
The same way as how much compensation for pain and suffering you are entitled to receive may be reduced if you are considered to have contributed to your injury by your own lack of care, your claim for personal injury special damages can also be affected by personal contributory negligence.
In the case study given above, you would be entitled to all the personal injury special damages as listed; however, had you not been wearing a seatbelt at the time of your car crash accident, you would be considered to have shown a disregard for you own health and safety – even though there was no connection between the fact that you were not wearing a seatbelt and the injury you suffered.
The reduction in the amount of personal injury special damages you receive could be as high as 33 per cent for failing to wear a seat belt – a significant proportion of future loss of income if you are unable to work ever again!
Does the Statute Of Limitations Apply To Personal Injury Special Damages?
In the United Kingdom, the Limitations Act of 1980 sets a time limit of three years from the date on which you have knowledge of an injury in which to make a claim for personal injury compensation. As personal injury special damages can represent a significant part of a claim for personal injury compensation, the same time limitation is applicable.
There is an exception to the Statute of Limitations which applies to children, who have until they are 21 years of age in which to claim for personal injury special damages. However, if a young child sustains a debilitating injury, a claim for personal injury special damages should not be delayed and a personal injury claim should be made on the child´s behalf by a parent or guardian acting as a “litigation friend”.
This will enable the transfer of personal injury special damages at an early stage to cover the costs of medical and educational requirements, and ensure that members of the child´s family can afford to give up work to provide care at home if necessary.
Insurance Firms and Personal Injury Special Damages
In the exact same way that an insurance company will not have completed an assessment of your injury and the consequences of your injury prior to offering you a potentially inappropriate settlement of personal injury compensation, they will also have no foundation to base how much compensation for personal injury special damages you are entitled to receive.
This danger of being undercompensated when accepting an offer of early settlement from an insurance company can mean that you have insufficient personal injury special damages to meet medical costs or support your family while still unable to work.
If you fear that you will experience financial pressures while waiting for a personal injury compensation claim to be settled, speak with a personal injury solicitor about the option of receiving interim payments of personal injury special damages. This is a far better answer than accepting an inappropriate offer of compensation through necessity for, if the amount of money you receive should prove to be inadequate, you cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more.
In Conclusion: Personal Injury Special Damages
In order to include personal injury special damages in a claim for personal injury compensation, it is important to keep records of expenses you have already incurred and produce official estimates of costs you may encounter in the future which are directly attributable to your loss or injury.
At a time when you may be overwhelmed by the situation facing you, it may not always be possible to consider the financial implications of a loss or injury, and why you are best advised to discuss compensation for personal injury special damages with an experienced solicitor at the first possible opportunity.
Therefore we have set up a free Injury Claims Service which you are welcome to call if you have any questions about personal injury special damages. Our solicitors will be able to give you a free accident injury claims assessment which will include how much compensation for personal injury special damages you should be entitled to receive.
There is no obligation on you to proceed with a claim for personal injury special damages once you have spoken with us and all calls to our free Injury Claims Service are completely confidential.