ACCIDENT COMPENSATION SOLICITORS - no win no fee*SOLICITORS HELPLINE: ☎ 0330 660 7119
The amount awarded for personal injury damages is intended to place person who suffers the injury back into the position that they would have been had the injury not occurred. The UK system for assessing personal injury compensation relies on consideration of previous awards made for personal injury in earlier court cases to reach a fair assessment of the valuation of damages to be awarded. There are records of most of the important claims made in the UK courts and there is a full record of all higher court cases however most accident compensation solicitors when assessing the value of personal injuries rely on a publication called 'Kemp and Kemp' which is a multi volume guide to previously decided cases throughout the range from minor injury to injuries of the utmost severity. This publication also contains explanations of the law and has copious footnotes to help make the assessment of damages as simple as possible. Copies of this book can be found in almost all lawyers' offices and in most public libraries.
Assessment of Damages
The main part of a claimants damages are usually valued by assessment. If the lawyers cannot come to an agreement on what injuries and losses are worth and settle the claim on a voluntary basis before the issue of court proceedings then the matter is left for a judge to decide after listening to representations from both parties or their lawyers. Most claimant accident compensation solicitors will try to impress the sum to award on a judge by referring to case law and previous judgements that support their contentions however the solicitor for the defendants and their insurance companies will attend court armed with a contradictory set of court reports from compensation claim cases that have been decided earlier and which will inevitably show lower figures than those put forward by the claimants solicitors.
When considering the amount to award for personal injury a judge will consider a number of factors including the extent of the injury, the pain and suffering caused and the extent of any permanent or ongoing disability. In order to calculate the actual amount of compensation a judge will be guided by previously decided cases and by any appeals relating to amounts awarded together with his own personal experience and judgement which will be tempered by a Government publication called 'The Judicial Studies Board Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases' which attempts to distil conventional wisdom of damages awards into a reasonably straight forward digest. This guidance has a tariff system for damages for personal injury awards however the guidelines cannot be taken on face value as many accidents result in a combination of injuries and it is simply not reasonable to add the amounts of individual injuries awards together to reach a figure for multiple injuries. Consideration and judgement need to be carefully applied.
Accident Compensation Solicitors
Our accident compensation solicitors offer advice at no cost and with no further obligation. Our lawyers operate the risk free no win no fee* scheme and are members of the Solicitors Regulation Authority panel of personal injury experts with wide experience in settling accident claims. If you instruct us to represent you we'll ensure that you get a fair deal. We operate the no win no fee* scheme otherwise known as a conditional fee agreement. No legal charge is payable unless the legal case is won and the client obtains an award of compensation. In the event that the legal claim is lost there is no charge made to the client. You won't have to pay for any disbursements or insurance policy. If you would like advice at no cost just use the helpline or complete the contact form and a specialist accident compensation solicitor will speak to you on the telephone with no further obligation.
Damages for personal injury are divided into two main categories more for the convenience of the court and the lawyers than for any benefit it may confer on the claimant. Compensation for items that can be calculated accurately is called 'special damages' and includes things such as wages losses and general expenses incurred as a direct result of the injury. Compensation for items which cannot be accurately calculated and which involve a degree of assessment by the judge are called 'general damages' and include items such as pain and suffering and loss of lifestyle and loss of previous congenial employment. In addition to the basic payments under these two heads it may also be possible for accident claim solicitors to claim interest by applying a complicated court formula.
- pain and suffering
- loss of amenity
- future loss of earnings
- loss of earning capacity
- loss of pension rights
- future expenses
- cost of past care and assistance
- medical treatment
- aids and equipment
- loss of past earnings
- out of pocket expenses
General Damages represents compensation for losses that must be assessed because they cannot be precisely calculated and includes :-
Special Damages represents compensation for items that can be precisely calculated and includes :-
Interest may be payable on damages. The rate payable and the period for which it is payable varies depending on the type of damages. Interest on special damages runs from the date of the accident whereas interest on general damages runs only from the date of service of court proceedings.
Interim Damages can be claimed if your opponent admits that his negligent behaviour caused the accident but does not agree with the amount claimed. An accident compensation solicitor can apply for an "Interim Payment" and the opponent pays some money now and then the court decides how much more is payable at a later date.
Provisional Damages for personal injuries may be awarded where there is a chance that at some time in the future, the injured person will develop some serious deterioration in his physical or mental condition. The court will then reconsider awarding further compensation at a later date if the person's health deteriorates as a result of the injury.
Accident claim solicitors usually find that the claim for loss of wages is substantial especially in cases of serious injury. Losses can include wages not paid as a result of absence from work up to the date of settlement plus anticiated future losses including future disavantage on the job market as a result of any long term disability. The main categories of wages loss that can be claimed includes :-
Past Loss of Earnings
If an injury is serious enough to justify time off work then a claim can be made for wage losses which will generally include the actual loss of net income suffered by the victim. There might be a period out of work or the need to work reduced hours or an inability to work overtime with a corresponding reduction in overall income. If payments are received from another source such as DSS benefits or income protection insurance then the amount will be taken into account to ensure that the recipient is not in a better position than he would have been if the injury had not occurred.
Loss of Future Earning Capacity
This part of a wages loss claim can be very substantial particularly in more serious cases. In most minor accidents, the injuries will cause incapacity or inconvenience for a limited period, however, in more serious cases the effects can be protracted or permanent giving rise to long term losses which can be claimed.
Disadvantage on the Labour Market
A sum can also be claimed for disadvantage on the labour market which means that even though the claimant may not have suffered an immediate loss, if there is a possibility of his current employment terminating and difficulties would then be experienced in obtaining alternative employment in the future as a result of any residual disability, due to the accident, then a compensatory award can be claimed which is known as a 'Smith and Manchester' award.
If you have an accident you must either settle your personal injury claim or issue legal proceedings in a court within 3 years of the accident or the claim may become statute barred and you will lose the right to claim compensation. The law concerning limitation periods can be complex and difficult and it is essential that advice regarding the rules governing time limits be obtained from qualified accident compensation solicitors as soon as possible. Some of the exceptions to the 3 year rule include :-
- if you were under 18 when the accident happened then the 3 year period only starts to run from your eighteenth birthday
- if the injury was not obvious at the time of the accident then the three years may start to run from when you found out about it
- the court can at its discretion extend the time limits
Personal Injury Lawyers
All claims are dealt with using the no win no fee* scheme. Your claim is totally risk free. If you would like to speak to a specialist personal injury solicitor to obtain compensation claim advice you can either use the helpline or complete the form or just email us. If after talking to us you decide not to take matters further then you are under no obligation to do so and you will not be charged for our advice.
In the case of CICA claims terms will vary and in the case of MIB claims terms may vary.