If you have suffered a personal injury or developed an illness that was someone else’s fault, you may be able to make a claim for personal injury damages.
At Thompsons, we have a team of experts who are dedicated to winning the maximum amount of compensation for people who have been hurt as a result of someone else’s negligence. Whether you’re in the process of making a claim, or thinking about starting one, in this guide, our experts have answered your questions about personal injury damages and the process of getting compensation.
1. What are personal injury damages?
In a claim, personal injury damages refer to compensation - the payment a claimant (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 personal injury 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 three types of damages?
In a personal injury claim, there are three types of damages awarded. These are:
General damages: This covers the pain and suffering you have gone through and the impact the injury or illness has had on your life up to the point of settlement and any impact into the future. The amount of compensation you can expect to receive depends on the severity and the length of time of your suffering.
Special damages for past losses: This will cover any expenses, loss of earnings and other financial losses related to your injury or illness. Our team of personal injury experts will calculate expenses incurred from the accident or illness, including any travel expenses to hospital, prescriptions and medical treatment, adaptations to your home or additional care needed.
Special damages for future losses: This compensation is awarded to put you back in a position financially as if the accident/illness never occurred. The amount of special damages you can expect to receive depends on whether you are able to continue with your work, or in the same employment, or if you need any rehabilitation or care in the future.
3. What are general damages in a personal injury case?
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 personal injury damages will also incorporate any psychological impact a serious injury may have had, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.
4. What is difference between general and special damages in a personal injury case?
In most personal injury cases, the claim for special damages covers 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 special 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 from 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 special 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 special 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 special 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 expenses as it will be needed as evidence during your claim.
5. Will I need a medical examination in order to claim personal injury damages?
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 personal injury 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 personal injury damages for you in the least amount of time.
7. What will I need to prove for a successful personal injury 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 amount of personal injury damages. Thompsons Solicitors will always be honest about the prospects of your case and agree a transparent fee structure up front, usually by means of a Conditional Fee Agreement – otherwise known as ‘no win, no fee’.
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.
8. A loved one was fatally injured in an accident. Am I entitled to claim for personal injury damages 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 financials, 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.
9. How long do I have to start a claim for personal injury damages?
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.