When you bring a claim for Personal Injury or Clinical Negligence, you will see that compensation is not an arbitrary figure selected at random. It is a carefully calculated amount.
The figure you arrive at is made up of two separate figures, one amount for your pain suffering and loss of amenity (known as General Damages in UK law). Then a second amount for any financial expenses you have been put to because of the injury or negligent treatment (known as Special Damages in UK law).
This article will discuss what kind of financial loss you can claim and how to calculate these.
What are Special Damages
Special Damages are paid to cover all the costs you incurred as a result of your injury/negligence; they are essentially refunding/reimbursing you.
There are a lot of various expenses that can be reclaimed such as:
- Travel costs for medical appointments,
- Loss of earnings,
- voluntary time spent by friends and family helping you do tasks that you would normally do yourself
- Medicines either prescribed or not
Tip: Keep your receipts! I cannot stress this enough. You will be asked to prove your loss, and you will struggle to do that without receipts.
You can claim travel expenses for your journeys to and from medical appointments. You can claim £0.45 per mile and can get mileage from various websites such as the RAC Route planner. Make sure you claim for mileage to the appointment and back not just one way.
You can also claim for car parking, so keep your receipts.
Loss of Earnings
You can claim for the time you have had to take off from your job. Lost wages will be easy to calculate from looking at your wage slips. Keep your pay slips as you will need to prove your loss.
You can also claim for voluntary care from your friends and family. You can claim for friends and relatives caring out the following
- Helping you out of bed
- Helping you to dress
- Helping you to wash
- Helping you with bathing
- Providing you with drinks and food on demand
- Providing you with your prescribed medication
- Time spent accompanying you to hospital and doctor appointments
- Carrying out your share of the domestic tasks, such as housework, etc.
You should consider carefully how long each day your friends and family spent helping you and for how many days/weeks/months they did this. The current hourly rate you can claim is £9.24 per hour.
Example: 3 hours per day for six weeks = 49 hours. 49 hours @ £9.24 per hour = £452.76
Once you have your total, you will need to subtract 25% from it (as the care provided was not provided by a paid service which would have to pay overheads such as tax and national insurance) and that will give you your amount for voluntary care.
You can also claim for any devices you have had to buy to aid you at home such as bath stool, walking sticks, cushions, new bed, extension to the building, etc
Anything you have had to buy or anything you have lost because of your injury you can claim for in you special damages. As long as you can prove it was a necessity (not a frivolity) and you keep your receipts.
You should now have a basic understanding of how to calculate your financial losses and how to best go about reclaiming them.