An Introduction to Damages
If you have suffered a personal injury or developed an illness that was someone else’s fault, you may be able to make a personal injury compensation claim for damages.
Thompsons Solicitors’ personal injury lawyers explain more…
1. What are damages?
In a personal injury claim, damages refers to compensation - the payment a claimant (that’s the injured party) receives following a successful personal injury claim. If you have been unfortunate enough to be injured in a road traffic accident, an accident at work or as the result of medical negligence, you may be able to secure damages. Personal injury compensation claims can also be made for illness and disease, including those sustained because of an industrial disease or exposure to asbestos.
2. What are the different types of damages?
In a personal injury claim, there are two main types of compensation awarded. One is for the pain and suffering you have gone through which is known as general damages. The other is for the losses and expenses you have incurred, including any possible future loss. General damages can’t make you better and are a monetary form of apology. ‘Special’ damages should put you back in a position financially as if the accident never happened or if you had never developed the illness.
3. What are general damages for?
General damages will be calculated based on the level of pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of your personal injury or illness. Medical evidence will be used to support this element of your claim. The damages will also incorporate any psychological impact a serious injury may have had, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.
4. What are ‘special’ damages?
In most cases the claim for ‘special’ damages is for things like prescription charges, travel to appointments and some loss of wages.
If it can be proved that your injury left you unable to work, and you lost earnings as a result, the damages you will get include lost earnings. You can also claim for the loss of future earnings if your personal injury is serious enough to prevent you working straight away or in later life. Public service workers unable to return to work, such as police officers and fire-fighters, may receive additional damages for the loss of congenial employment, on the basis that their employment was ‘more than just a job’ to them.
You can also be entitled to claim damages for any expenses necessary to support your recovery, such as medication costs, nursing and rehabilitation care. If you need to modify your house or car because of your condition, you would be entitled to claim damages for those costs, too.
You may also be able to claim special damages for expenses during your recovery. This can include the costs of medication, nursing care, travel to appointments and accessibility adaptations needed for your car and home. It’s vital that you keep records and receipts of any expense you or loss you suffer as it will be needed as evidence during your claim.
5. Will I need a medical examination in order to claim damages for a personal injury?
Yes. Medical evidence is used to support claims for the pain and suffering you have sustained as a result of your accident or illness. Notes may be gathered from your own medical records and it may also be necessary for you to visit a private medical specialist. Thompsons Solicitors will coordinate this process on your behalf, and at no cost to you.
6. How long will my claim for damages take?
Every personal injury case is different and while some are settled within months, others can be more complex and take years. That said, Thompsons Solicitors will always strive to obtain the maximum amount of damages for you in the least amount of time.
7. What will I need to prove for a successful damages claim?
In a personal injury compensation claim, it is for the injured person to prove fault by someone else. All that a defendant to a personal injury claim has to do is deny liability; they don’t have to prove anything.
Having experts on your side, who are highly experienced in fighting for claimants, is vital if you are to win your case and get the maximum compensation. Most law firms act for both insurance companies and injured people – as an injured person, you need to ask who is going to best fight your corner.
Thompsons Solicitors has only ever acted for injured people, never for insurers – and we never will. To find out how Thompsons Solicitors can help you, contact us on 0800 0 224 224 or fill in this online claim form, for free, no obligation advice on whether you may have a valid case.
8. A loved one was fatally injured in an accident. Am I entitled to claim compensation on their behalf?
In cases of serious injury that cause a fatality, compensation may be awarded to those dependent on the deceased, for the loss of their financial, as well as things like expenses to cover funeral costs. Thompsons Solicitors’ personal injury specialists are on hand to support you during every step of the personal injury claims process, offering professional and compassionate support and guidance. To chat through your case and, where appropriate, start the claim process, call us on 0800 0 224 224. Alternatively, you can submit our no-obligation online claim form and we will be in touch at a time that is convenient for you.
9. How long do I have to start a damages claim?
There are strict time deadlines in place for any personal injury claim so Thompsons Solicitors always recommends that you get in touch with our expert team as soon as possible, either via our online compensation claim form, or by calling us on 0800 0 224 224. The time limit for starting a personal injury claim is usually three years from the date the accident or injury occurred, or three years from the date of diagnosis in industrial disease claims.
For more information on how we can help you today, visit Thompsons Solicitors’ claims page or call us on 0800 0 224 224.