Personal Injury Claims – what are General Damages ?
In legal terms, ‘general damages’ in personal injury claim solicitors refers to the compensation you will receive for ‘pain, suffering and loss of amenity’. In many cases general damages will form the main part of the compensation that your solicitor is able to recover for you. In comparison ‘special damages’ concerns financial losses and other associated areas.
When are general damages applicable?
Depending on how serious your injuries are, general damages are applicable to your compensation claim in terms of how many injuries you received, how long it took to recover and whether there have been any lasting or permanent effects.
General damages also take into account any loss of earnings both present and in the future. If the injury is serious like hip replacement recall and has prevented you from working later on in life, general damages would cover this too. It also takes into account any potential promotions or pension entitlement which the claimant may have been entitled to.
The claimant may also receive additional hip compensation and this can be recovered for loss of any congenial employment. If your job was vocational for example and wasn’t ‘just a job’, general damages can be awarded on this basis. When you’re no longer able to perform the job due to the long term effects of your severe injuries, general damages can cover this. General damages in this instance, isn’t just limited to vocational careers such as police officers, fire fighters or nurses.
Loss of amenity
If your life has been considerably affected by an accident then you may be eligible for additional compensation in the form of a ‘loss of amenity’. If you are a keen horse rider for example, you might have had to stop participating in the hobby you love because of your injuries.
Loss of amenity would cover you for this, no matter how short term the injuries are. It can also cover any changes to your employment along with any inability to carry out basic domestic tasks around the household. In appropriate cases, your claims solicitor can even arrange for rehabilitation or on-going medical treatment to aid your recovery, at no extra cost to yourself.
How much can I receive from General Damages?
Your personal injury lawyers will arrange for a medical expert to check your medical records and after examining you, will then prepare a report with details about your injuries. The expert will also note any treatment you have received or suggested to you, along with any indications of when you might recover. A copy will then be sent to you and your solicitor for your approval.
As part of the process of assessing the right level of compensation you are entitled to, your solicitor will look at the level of compensation you might receive and compare the claim with other similar cases where compensation has been paid out. They will also look at the Court’s guidelines based on certain injuries and their value.
If your case is complex or involves a catastrophic injuries (e.g. brain or spinal injuries brackets, your solicitor may also appoint a specialist barrister as part of your legal team to provide further advice about the right level of compensation you should receive.
After sending the report to the opponents’ insurers, your solicitor will try to negotiate a settlement for you – rest assured no final agreement as to the right level of settlement will be made without your final agreement. Fortunately, the majority of personal injury compensation claims are settled in this way – it’s only a very small number of claims that need to go to a final hearing at court, where either the cause of the injury or the level of compensation itself is still in dispute