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Which types of compensation can an injured person claim?

An individual who suffers a personal injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, is entitled to financial recompense. The aim of any compensation recovered as part of a personal injury action, is to financially restore the injured person to the position they were in before the accident.

The amount of damages that an individual may be able to recover depends on many factors and will be based on specific circumstances to their case.  Personal injury compensation awards will be unique to the party claiming, and will always be calculated having regard to the type and severity of the injury sustained, together with any other losses an individual has suffered as a result of the accident.

A personal injury compensation award will be made up of two different types of damages.

1. General Damages:

    This is a sum to compensate the injured party for the non-economic losses suffered by them. This award is for the injury/ies and includes pain and suffering, loss of amenity/ enjoyment of life, and emotional distress. It takes into account all the things that the injured party might have been able to do before the accident, but which may now no longer be possible, or be severely curtailed.

    Examples of what circumstances are taken into consideration include:

    • The nature and the severity of the injury/ies
    • The recovery and rehabilitation time
    • The extent of any long-term disabilities suffered and the effect that this will have on the injured party’s life
    • The age and pre-accident health of the injured party
    • Any psychological damage caused by the injury

    Valuing general damages requires a careful review of previous case law where a similar injury/ies have been sustained, in conjunction with consideration of guidelines set by the Court. The sums recovered under this heading vary significantly and will largely depend on the factors highlighted above.

    2. Special Damages:

    Special damages are paid to reimburse an injured person for financial losses incurred as a result of an  accident, and which may already have been incurred.

    Special damages typically include:

    • Personal possessions or items of clothing that were lost or damaged as a result of the accident.
    • Loss of earnings to include those incurred whilst being away from work due to the injuries sustained in the accident, any earnings which may be lost in the future due to the injured party’s incapacity arising from the accident and any impact on the injured party’s career progression.
    • Medical expenses such as physiotherapy costs or medication/prescriptions costs that the injured party has had to incur. This may also include private out or inpatient care, surgery costs, and rehabilitation. If an injured party’s injuries are severe or long term, the injured party will also be able to claim for future medical expenses if these are identified as necessary by a medical expert.
    • The cost of services provided by professional carers, or family and friends. This applies even if the injured party did not pay friends and family for any services they provided.
    • Travel costs which might include trips to and from the hospital and seeing other medical professionals for ongoing treatment and rehabilitation.
    • Accommodation costs which might be required as a result of any disabilities caused by an accident requiring an injured party to make alterations to their home or to move house.
    • Expenses relating to the cost of living with disabilities caused by the accident. This can cover a range of needs including any alterations or a change to the injured party’s vehicle, and the cost of aids and equipment.
    • Any other incidental costs such as car parking charges, online supermarket delivery costs or employing a gardener, cleaner or handyman if the injured party is no longer able to manage these tasks and they did before the accident.

    Providing Evidence

    In all personal injury cases, an injured party will need to provide evidence of the expenses or losses incurred as a result of an accident. This may vary from receipts, invoices, medical bills and payslips. It is important that these documents are retained, thereby giving weight to the claim and to try and ensure their recoverability as part of the action.

    It is important for the injured party to be mindful of their duty to mitigate their loss. This means that the injured party has a duty to minimise the losses they claim to those which are reasonable.

    Once information is available to help with the valuation of the claim, the injured party’s legal representative will collate this information and present it in a document called a Schedule of Loss.

    In most cases, it is possible to negotiate and agree a compensation award with the representatives for the other party involved. Only if there is a large divide between the two parties regarding the valuation of the claim and a difference of opinion on medical evidence, will matters proceed to Court. At this point, it will be for a Judge to hear the evidence, consider the arguments being put forward, determine which side’s evidence is most credible, and decide how much the injured party should be compensated.

    How we can help

    Since every personal injury case is unique, it is important to consult an experienced personal injury solicitor to get a better understanding of the potential compensation available in any specific set of circumstances. A personal injury specialist can help evaluate the injured party’s claim, gather evidence and negotiate with insurers to ensure the injured party receives the compensation they deserve.

    If you have a personal injury claim that you wish to discuss further and understand what the case might be worth, please contact our experienced personal injury team on 01525 378177 or info@ommlaw.co.uk, who will be happy to talk to you further.

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