Do You Need Help Understanding Personal Injury Special Damages?
Many people understand that if you have been injured or sustained a loss in an accident for which you were not to blame, you are entitled to claim compensation; however compensation is made up of many different elements — one of which is personal injury special damages.
Personal injury special damages are the element of a personal injury compensation settlement which recovers the financial costs of a injury or loss caused by the negligence of a third party who owed you a duty of care. The aim of personal injury special damages is to replace any financial cost which has been caused by the injury or loss, and return your financial position to that which it would have been had the injury or loss never occurred.
Personal Injury Special Damages: What Can I Claim?
Personal injury special damages can be claimed for almost any quantifiable expenses which can be accounted for by your loss or injury. To make this easier to understand, it is sometimes more helpful to divide personal injury special damages into “incidental” special damages and “consequential” special damages.
The incidental special damages part of a personal injury special damages claim relates to expenses incurred in resolving a situation. Therefore, if you have suffered a broken leg in a car crash accident while travelling to the airport to catch a flight for your vacation, 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.
The consequential special damages part of a claim for personal injury special damages relates to any expense incurred as a consequence of your situation, and is much more wide-ranging than the incidental special damages. In the example of a car crash while driving to the airport mentioned above, you would be able to include among your claim for compensation for personal injury special damages:-
- The cost of alternative transport while unable to drive your car
- The cost of a replacing your vacation
- The cost of arranging home help or child carer if required
- The cost of improving access your home if you were permanently confined to a wheelchair
- Loss/reduction of income, regular overtime and pension contributions
In order to include personal injury special damages in a personal injury compensation settlement, it is important to keep receipts of expenses you have already had to meet and produce credible estimates of costs you may encounter in the future which are directly attributable to your loss or injury.
Are Personal Injury Special Damages and Contributory Negligence Linked?
In the same way as how much compensation for pain and suffering you may be eligible to claim may be reduced if you are considered to have contributed to your injury by your own lack of care, personal injury special damages can also be affected by personal contributory negligence.
In the example given, you would be entitled to any of the applicable personal injury special damages listed above; 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 sustained — and how much compensation for personal injury special damages you were actually awarded would be reduced to reflect your own lack of care.
The reduction in how much personal injury special damages you receive could be as high as 33 per cent for not belting up — a significant proportion of future loss of earnings if you are unable to work ever again!
Personal Injury Special Damages and the Statute of Limitations
In the UK, the Limitations Act of 1980 set a time limit of three years from the date on which you are aware of an injury in which to make a claim for personal injury compensation. As personal injury special damages can become a considerable proportion of a claim for personal injury compensation, the same time limitation is applicable.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations are applicable to children, who have three years from when they reach eighteen years of age in which to make a personal injury claim and claim for personal injury special damages. However, if a young child sustains a devastating injury, a claim for personal injury special damages should not be delayed and a personal injury claim should be made in the child´s place by a parent or guardian acting as a “litigation friend”.
This will secure the release of personal injury special damages when required to cover the costs of medical care and education, and ensure that members of the child´s family can afford to give up work to provide care at home if required.
Early Settlements and Personal Injury Special Damages
In the same way that an insurance firm will not have conducted an assessment of your injury and the consequences of your injury prior to offering you an inadequate settlement of personal injury compensation, they will have no idea of how much compensation for personal injury special damages you are entitled to receive.
This risk of being undercompensated when taking an offer of early settlement from an insurance firm can mean that you have insufficient personal injury special damages to meet medical costs or support your family while you are still unable to work.
If you anticipate experiencing financial difficulties while waiting for a personal injury compensation claim to be resolved, discuss your worries with a personal injury solicitor to find out about the option of receiving interim payments of personal injury special damages. This is a far better solution than accepting an inappropriate offer of compensation through need for, if the compensation settlement you accept proves to be inadequate, you cannot go back to the insurance firm and ask for more.
Do You Need More Help Understanding Personal Injury Special Damages?
It is very important to speak with a personal injury solicitor at the first possible opportunity after you have sustained an injury in an accident for which you were not entirely at fault, to establish your entitlement to claim general damages and to claim for personal injury special damages. Any failure to do so may be the cause of you becoming the victim of an insurance company as well as their negligent client.
Therefore, you are invited to call our free helpline on and discuss your entitlement to claim for personal injury special damages directly with an experienced personal injury solicitor. Our solicitor will answer any questions you may have about making a personal injury special damages claim and complete a full assessment to inform you how much compensation for personal injury special damages you may be entitled to.
There is no obligation on you to proceed with a claim for personal injury special damages once you have spoken with one of our solicitors and lines to our freephone helpline are open twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. All calls to our free legal advice service are completely confidential and we hold your privacy in the utmost regard.