What are Personal Injury Special Damages?
Personal injury special damages are the part of a personal injury compensation settlement which compensates you for the financial costs of a loss or injury attributable to the negligence of a third party who owed you or a loved one a duty of care. The purpose of personal injury special damages is to address any economic loss which has been attributable to the injury or loss, and give you back return your financial position to that which it would have been had the injury or loss never occurred.
In order to include personal injury special damages in a claim for personal injury compensation, it is vital to keep receipts of expenses you have already incurred and produce credible estimates of costs you may encounter in the future which are directly attributable to your loss or injury. At a point in time when you may be overwhelmed by your situation, it may not always be possible to consider the financial implications of a loss or injury without assistance, and why you are best advised to discuss personal injury special damages with an experienced lawyer at the first possible opportunity.
What Counts as Personal Injury Special Damages?
Personal injury special damages can be sought for practically any quantifiable expense which can be attributed to your loss or injury. To make this simpler to understand, it is sometimes more helpful to break down personal injury special damages into “incidental” special damages and “consequential” special damages.
Incidental special damages account for expenses incurred in remedying a situation. Therefore, if you have sustained a fractured leg in a car crash accident while driving to the airport to catch a flight for your holiday, any expenses related to medical treatment (prescription charges and private treatment not available on the NHS) and costs incurred in repairing your car could be recovered in an “incidental” personal injury special damages claim.
Consequential special damages refer to any expense incurred as a consequence of your situation, and are far more wide-ranging than the incidental special damages. In the case of a car crash while driving to the airport above, you would be able to include among your personal injury special damages:-
- The expense of other transport while unable to drive
- The cost of a substitute holiday
- Wages for a home help or child carer if needed
- The cost of re-building your home if you need to use a wheelchair
- Loss of earnings, regular overtime and pension contributions
What personal injury special damages do not take into account are compensation for the disappointment of missing your holiday, compensation to account for the deterioration in your quality of life due to being unable to work, drive, socialise and perform day-to-day activities independently, and compensation for any psychological trauma you may have experienced. These parts of a personal injury compensation settlement are accounted for in personal injury general damages – an area which your lawyer will be able to explain in greater detail if required.
Contributory Negligence and Personal Injury Special Damages
In much the same way as how much compensation for an accident you are entitled to receive may be reduced if you are considered to have contributed to your injury by your own lack of care, personal injury special damages can also be affected by personal contributory negligence.
In the case described above, you would be entitled to all the personal injury special damages as listed; however, had you not been wearing a seatbelt at the time of your car crash accident, you would be considered to have shown a disregard for you own health and safety – even though there was no connection between the fact that you were not wearing a seatbelt and the injury you sustained.
The decrease in how much personal injury special damages you receive could be as high as 33 per cent for failing to wear a seat belt – a significant proportion of future loss of income if you are unable to work ever again!
The Statute of Limitations and Personal Injury Special Damages
In the USA, the Limitations Act of 1980 set a time limit of three years from the date on which you are aware of an injury in which to make a claim for personal injury compensation. As personal injury special damages form a major part of a claim for personal injury compensation, the same time limitation applies.
Some exceptions to the Statute of Limitations apply to children, who have three years from when they reach eighteen years of age in which to make a claim for personal injury compensation. However, if a young child suffers a catastrophic injury, a claim for personal injury special damages should not be delayed and a personal injury claim should be made on the child´s behalf by a parent or guardian acting as a “litigation friend”.
This will allow the release of personal injury special damages at an early stage to cover the costs of medical and educational required, and ensure that members of the child´s family can afford to give up work to provide care at home if required.
Insurance Companies and Personal Injury Special Damages
In the same way that an insurance firm will not have completed an assessment of your injury and the consequences of your injury prior to offering you an inadequate settlement of personal injury compensation, they will have no idea of how much compensation for personal injury special damages you are entitled to receive.
This risk of being undercompensated when accepting an offer of early settlement from an insurance firm can mean that you have insufficient personal injury special damages to meet medical costs or support your family while still not able to work.
If you do experience financial difficulties while waiting for a personal injury compensation claim to be agreed, speak with a personal injury lawyer about the option of receiving interim payments of personal injury special damages. This is a far better situation than accepting an inappropriate offer of compensation through necessity for, if the funds you receive should prove to be inadequate, you cannot go back to the insurance firm and ask for more.
Free Legal Advice about Personal Injury Special Damages
There is no guessing involved in personal injury special damages – they are simply the quantifiable costs that you have already incurred, or may incur in the future, which can be attributed to an injury caused by a negligent third party.
However, many accident victims take a lesser amount of personal injury special damages because they are unaware of what they are entitled to claim or have been pressured into accepting an inappropriate amount of personal injury special damages by an insurance firm.
Therefore, we have established a free service which you are invited to call at any time to discuss the circumstances of a personal injury and your entitlement to personal injury special damages.
There is no obligation on you to proceed with a claim for personal injury special damages and all calls to our service are completely confidential. Make sure you receive your full entitlement to personal injury special damages by calling our service at the earliest possible opportunity.