What are ‘Special Damages’?

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Most people know they can look to win a financial settlement if they are injured in an accident that wasn’t their fault, but a lot of claimants don’t seem to know about claiming for their special damages.

Special damages cover financial loss

Special damages form part of the final value of a claimant’s settlement. It is the term used to describe the element of a claim that arises from the costs that an injured claimant has incurred. Such costs could be minor things such as bus or taxi fares to and from hospital, or petrol and parking expenses. However, they can also become large elements of a claim such as lost income or lost future income. Claimants can claim for items or clothing broken in an accident, such as spectacles, or private medical treatment if it can be proven that it is necessary to enable a quicker recovery.

One of the best reasons to use a company like ourselves is that our specialist solicitors will ensure that the value of a client’s final settlement is maximised in favour of the claimant. Whereas an inexperienced claimant, dealing directly with an insurer, will have no idea what is a fair settlement and for what they are entitled to claim. As well as making sure the full extent of a client’s injury is understood and the implications of the injury properly diagnosed and stated by a specialist doctor, your solicitor will ask you for details of expenses that you may have incurred. These and other costs will then form your special damages claim.

Keep receipts and quotes

To enable yourself to avoid being out of pocket, it is important that you make a point of claiming back any reasonable expenses that the injuries have lead you to incur. It is really important that you are able to prove these expenses. Therefore, if you are injured in an accident and wish to pursue a claim for personal injury compensation, make sure you keep receipts for taxi fares, car parking at hospital, petrol costs, massage therapies, prescription costs or physiotherapy treatment. Without receipts to prove your expenses, it is much harder to successfully claim them back.

You can also claim any lost income. For PAYE employees that don’t receive full sickness pay during sick leave, they will receive statutory sickness benefit. They can claim back the difference between the sum of money received for statutory sickness benefit and their usual average salary. Providing pay slips for a period of 3 months prior to the accident will enable your solicitor to claim this back.

For self-employed claimants, they will have to prove their income by way of providing accounts for the 2 previous years of their working life.

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Questions & Answers


  1. Gary Norton

    Hi there, just a quick question, do you take a percentage of a special damages award? (ie loss of earnings, medical expenses, rehabilitation costs etc)

    Reply
    • Ian Morris

      Gary

      Hi, thanks for taking the time to ask us a question about No Win No Fee personal injury compensation and how the 25% deduction works when a claim is won.

      To answer your question, Yes the 25 % comes off all the past losses – and that does include any out of pocket expenses incurred, general damages for the actual injury/pain/suffering plus loss of earnings and care etc. When calculating the deduction, Solicitors normally exclude treatment costs and leave those 100% intact. However, this is done on a case by case basis and is not always the case.

      However, it is important to note that the 25% deduction will not include any future losses – for example future loss of earnings, disability on the labour market, future care costs or future treatment costs etc. The 25% deduction element only applies to past losses.

      It is also important to note (and I appreciate that this is a little confusing), that the 25% deduction fee is not always the full 25% of a total claim settlement as the deduction that is capped at a MAXIMUM of 25% is also subject to another cap to ensure fairness for successful claimants. The 25% deduction is capped at 100% of the value of the actual costs a succeeding solicitor has incurred in the running of a claim for personal injury compensation, or 25% of the total compensation settlement (as outlined above) – whichever is the lower of the two figures.

      As an example, if a successful claim settled for damages of £20,000 and the successful solicitor had carried out work to the value of £3,000, the most that they could deduct from the compensation settlement would be £3,000, even though 25% would be £5,000. In this example, the £3,000 figure is the lower of the two figures. However, if the same claim settled for damages of £20,000 and the successful solicitor had carried out work to the value of £15,000, the most they could deduct would be the 25% of the full total (at £5000).

      I hope that this makes sense. It is also worth noting that solicitors are open to discussing the deduction and may negotiate – but only on very strong cases where success is very likely and damages are estimated to be high.

      Yours sincerely

      Ian Morris

      Reply
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