What are Special Damages for Personal Injuries?
One area of personal injury compensation which has the potential to be confusing is “What are special damages for personal injuries?” This guide is intended to inform you of what special damages in personal injury claims relate to and some of the issues you may encounter in the recovery of expenses you have incurred.
Please note that no two claims for personal injuries are ever identical and therefore this guide is no substitute for speaking with a solicitor and establishing what are the special damages for personal injuries that you would be able to claim in relation to your own individual circumstances.
What are Special Damages for Personal Injuries?
Special damages are the element of a personal injury settlement which will compensate you for any financial loss you have suffered as a result of an injury you have sustained in an accident for which somebody else was at fault, and to ensure your financial state is returned to the position it was prior to your accident and injury.
How can I Calculate the Special Damages I am Entitled to?
In order to get a fair and accurate settlement of special damages in personal injury claims, it is important that you retain receipts for any expenses which you have already incurred, and are able to provide credible estimates of any future expenses which you may encounter.
What Types of Personal Injury Special Damages are there?
To best explain what are special damages for personal injuries, we have divided the two categories of special damages which exist into “incidental” and “consequential”. Incidental special damages relate to expenses which arise directly from an accident. For instance, if you were in a car accident, you may have to pay for private medical treatment and to repair the damage done to your car.
“Consequential” special damages are awarded for any expenses which arise as a result of your accident. For example, the cost of alternative transport while unable to drive, the financial cost of any plans which you had to cancel, compensation for any home help which may be required, the loss of income while you were recovering from your injury and the cost of restructuring your home in the case of permanent incapacity.
What is not Covered under Special Damages in Personal Injury Claims?
Personal injury special damages do not cover any compensation for the disappointment of cancelled plans, compensation for any reduction in your quality of life you may have suffered or compensation for any psychological trauma which may have occurred as a result of the accident. These elements of a personal injury compensation claim are covered under general damages, which your solicitor can explain to you in detail.
What Factors Can Affect the Recovery of my Expenses?
If it is found that that your own lack of care played a part in causing an accident or exacerbating your injuries, and the extent of your injury is partially your own fault, the personal injury special damages to which you are entitled can be drastically reduced. In other words, if you failed to take every precaution to avoid sustaining an injury (for example, wearing a seatbelt) or you delayed seeking professional medical treatment until your injury had deteriorated into a serious condition, you will receive less than 100 percent of the expenses you would normally be able to recover.
How Much Time Do I Have to Claim Personal Injury Special Damages?
Generally, the time limit in which you should initiate a claim for compensation is three years from the date on which you have knowledge of an injury. Exceptions can sometimes occur; and in the case of a minor who has suffered an injury, this time limit does not begin until their eighteenth birthday. However, if a minor has been seriously injured, it is strongly recommended that a parent or guardian launch legal action immediately in order to obtain the special damages in personal injury claims required for any medical, educational or care requirements.
I Have Been Offered Compensation for a Personal Injury Claim. Should I Accept?
On occasions, the insurance company of the negligent party responsible for causing your injury will contact you directly, offering compensation in order to quickly settle your personal injury claim. However, you should be wary before you accept any settlement as it is unlikely that the insurance company has completed a full assessment of your injury or has calculated what are the special damages for personal injuries that you are entitled to – you could very well end up being undercompensated.
While it may be tempting to accept an offer in the short term, remember that – if needed – your solicitor can apply for interim payments of personal injury special damages until your claim has been resolved.
Speak With a Solicitor about Special Damages in Personal Injury Claims
If you are still in any doubt as to what are special damages for personal injuries, remember that your solicitor will be able to provide you with guidance regarding the compensation you can receive which is relevant to your individual circumstances and can ensure that any expenses which you are entitled to are appropriately accounted for.