How much is my personal injury claim worth?
We here at JNP Legal are specialists when it comes to personal injury claims. Our Nelson office is a corporate member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and two of our solicitors are accredited members of APIL. We have successfully negotiated settlement on a number of claims over the years.
One of the most common questions asked at the outset of a claim is in relation to the value of it. At the start of a claim, it is extremely difficult to say with any certainty how much a claim will settle for, as this is dependent upon lots of factors. This blog will try to explain how a claim is valued, and what types of items can be claimed for.
As part of any personal injury claim, compensation is broken down into 2 headings: General Damages and Special Damages. General Damages are paid to compensate the injured person for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by the injury itself. Special Damages take into account expenses such as loss of earnings, care and assistance, travel and future losses.
For the Special Damages claim, it is usually possible to calculate this very precisely. For a loss of earnings claim, this is calculated using the average wage before the accident. This is usually done by looking at the wage slips in the 3 months before the accident occurred. Once an average is worked out, you would then deduct what was actually received (i.e. statutory sick pay) and the figure you are left with is the loss of earnings claim. For a self-employed individual, the loss would be the loss of profit to the business.
It is sometimes the case that an injured person will require care and assistance from family members for activities such as personal care, shopping and housework. This is also something that can be claimed for and it is worked out on the basis of a reduced hourly rate, to reflect the fact that the family member helping is not a care professional. It is usually the case that the Defendant will try and defend this aspect of the claim and it is normal for no offers to be made in respect of this head of loss. This is something to be prepared for in negotiation.
For the injured person’s travel claim, we here at JNP claim this at 45p a mile. Again, this is a head of loss which is normally disputed by the Defendant and it is not uncommon to see an offer for mileage at around 30-35p a mile. Local courts have also awarded mileage as low as 25p a mile.
For someone who has a more serious injury, there are sometimes future losses i.e. future loss of earnings, future care and assistance etc.
For any item of Special Damage, it is important for the injured person to keep whatever proof they can i.e. receipts, wage slips. It is often useful to keep a diary so that you can keep track of the care and assistance received, and the travel to appointments undertaken. This will strengthen the case.
The other type of compensation is General Damages. This is to compensate the injured person for the injury itself. Unlike the Special Damages claim, it is not usually possible to give a precise figure for this head of loss, as this type of compensation is normally calculated by reference to a bracket i.e. £1,500 to £2,000. This head of loss is based upon the medical report obtained as part of the claim. The medical expert will confirm what type of injury has been sustained (i.e. soft tissue, fracture etc), and they will confirm the seriousness of that, along with a prognosis period (i.e. how long the injury is expected to last for). Once we have this detail from the medical expert, we then look at previous case law to see what similar injuries settled for. We are also guided by guidelines issues by Judges. It must be stressed that no two cases are identical and the case law found is only really an indication of the potential value of the claim. We would usually seek to negotiate settlement with the Defendant at the higher end of our valuation, but it is sometimes the case that cases settle towards the lower end of the bracket. For this type of compensation, each case will be dependent upon its facts.
There are lots of reforms going on at the moment in the personal injury sector. Our previous blogs have written about this. The reporting of these reforms in the national press has gone under the radar recently due to Brexit. However, these reforms are coming, and they are set to dramatically change how personal injury claims are brought and settled. At the moment, the average value of a claim for whiplash, which lasted 0-3 months, is £1,800. One of the reforms due to go through is that there would be a set tariff. For this type of injury, post reform, the amount of damages would be capped at £235. This would result in a saving for insurers of around £1,600 per claim, but it highly unlikely that this type of saving will be passed onto the car insurance customer. The anticipated saving per customer is going to be around £40 a customer. The aim of these reforms is to reduce the number of claims being brought, the so called ‘Compensation Culture’, but recent statistics show that the number of claims being brought is actually dropping. Both the Law Society, and APIL, have heavily campaigned against these reforms, with the worry that they will reduce access to justice.
At JNP Legal, we always strive to get the best possible result for our clients. This applies not only to personal injury claims, but the other areas that we work in. We are your local solicitors. If you have been injured through no fault of your own, please contact us now and we will be more than happy to try and assist you. We do offer No Win No Fee Agreements, as long as we are happy that the claim has a good chance of winning.
We have 3 offices and we are able to travel to the office most convenient for you. Our telephone numbers can be found on our website.
JNP Legal are leading law specialists who can assist with all your legal needs in a discreet and professional manner.
We are open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm in our Merthyr Tydfil and Nelson offices and to ensure maximum convenience to all of you that may need our help and guidance on a Saturday morning 9am – 12pm in our Merthyr Tydfil office.
We offer home visits to those clients who are unable to attend our offices in person and we pride ourselves on offering first class client care. If you need assistance in relation to any of the issues raised in this blog please call us on 01685 350421 or 01443 450561 or E Mail: Law@jnplegal.org and we will do our very best to provide you with the legal assistance you require.