What are ‘Special Damages’?

14 questions have been answered below, why not ask your own?

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.

14 questions have been answered below, why not ask your own?

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Questions & Answers


  1. Marion

    I fell down stairs at work causing my foot to fracture and twisted ankle, I am in a cast, my boss has offered 80% of my wage and has suggested I use some holidays to make up a short fall in income.

    The stair carpet had been removed and the stairs were then painted with a gloss pain. The residents walk up and down the stairs and spillages have become a problem and this is the reason for my fall.

    • Ian Morris

      Whilst on the one hand, the fact that you are receiving 80% pay is a good thing, the fact that you are losing out on 20% of salary or losing your holiday allowance (not to mention the nasty injury to your ankle) is clearly not good.

      Whether or not you receive some or all of your pay, it would appear that you have a valid and justified claim to be made against the employers insurance cover as the cause of your accident could have been avoided if different choices were made by the employer. Not only have they allowed a smooth surface to be present on the stairs where spillages occur, there appears to be no warning sign in situ to give you prior notice of the risk of slipping.

      We would be very happy to help you further. You can get more help by calling us on 01225430285 or by using the start your claim page of our website to provide further information. There is no obligation to pursue a claim, but you can learn more about your rights after an accident at work and how we can help by getting in touch with us.

  2. Moira

    Hi, I was severely injured at work and I had to have shoulder surgery. I had just returned from work after knee surgery and was struggling financially as it was due to this. I was only back at work 2 months when this accident happened and I tried to keep working but I new within myself that the injury was serious. This happened in the may and I worked on until the August as it wasn’t getting any better, I decided to take time off to try and let it heal. I was extremely stressed and I started taking panic attacks, this was due to the fact that we did not get sick pay only statutory sick pay. I was depressed as it was due to the run up to my knee surgery, this took 2 years to get. Christmas was coming and my son was 11 and I am a single parent so I went to my GP and asked her to sign me off which she did but put on my line light duties. My boss refused to let me come back to work this was just before the start of November and by the 22nd of November I had a severe total nervous breakdown. To cut the story down I went to my union and had legal support but this is the part I’m not happy about. I ended up having to tell my lawyer what to do. My 3yr deadline was up on the Saturday and he still hadn’t put the paperwork in to the court. I had to phone his secretary to let him no. It was done the next day, 1 day before the time limit was up. I could go on regarding. He also told me twice that my claim was worth 50k but after I had been to see an orthopaedic consultant for examination he contacted me and told me that my claim was 25k. I was never asked if I wanted to accept this offer and I actually thought that the consultant was working on behalf of the other side. It was all decided without my opinion and there was other important factors regarding my case that he totally dismissed. My nervous breakdown was never taken into consideration. I was told not to bother sending in my psychiatrists notes as the claim amount had already been decided. I could go into more detail but I really do think that I have a case for professional negligence. I no this is a short insight into what happened to me but my employer was definitely at fault, that was certain from the beginning. My question is do you think that I have a case against my lawyer. I was paid out last December and now that I have recovered mentally looking back and reading the emails and the way he spoke to me in itself is questionable. I seen on your website that you can make a claim for psychological distress and I would like to no why he never made this a priority in my case. I was extremely ill and attended a psychologist and psychiatrist for 20 sessions, I was a shadow of my self and thought that I would never be normal again. I got no support from my employer and when I returned to work the intimidation and harassment started once they new I had been to a lawyer and I ended up resigning a year and a half later. I mentally couldn’t take any more and I had worked for this company for 19 years. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Ian Morris

      It would appear that you are out of limitation and may not be able to make a claim.

  3. Ian

    Hi, my fiance has been put in danger at work. He is a Mental Health Support worker in the community. Recently Despite warning his manager there were red flags showing, in terms of one of mental health, the lients mental health was deteriorating. This was reported for near six weeks and my fiance finally got attacked thanks to his boss’ inertia. What can be done here?

    • Ian Morris

      Our specialist Solicitors do a considerable amount of work for support workers and other similar professionals injured whilst performing their duties. In this case, they may well be able to pursue a claim for your Husband as his employer was given prior warning of concerns and appears to have failed to act upon them. If we can establish that the employer has ignored the warnings given and that their decision to turn a blind eye to the warnings failed to prevent an incident that may otherwise not have happened, our Solicitors could succeed with a claim.

      If your Husband would like further help with a claim, he can either call us on 01225430285 or use the form on our website to start a claim enquiry with us.

  4. Charlotte

    Hi, I crushed my finger in a fire door at work 8 weeks ago which resulted in me having to have surgery on a nail bed laceration and a distal phalanx fracture so was off work for 5 weeks. I’m back at work now but after a follow up with fracture clinic yesterday ive been informed that the nerves are damaged at the tip of my finger so I’ve been referred to a hand therapist to help me cope with the loss of feeling and weakness in my hand as its likely to be permanent damage. My colleagues have advised me to put a claim in because over a month before I had the accident the door was reported as faulty which to this day still has not been repaired.

    • Ian Morris

      You really have every right to make a claim. The employer was already on notice of a fault with the door BEFORE your accident and they failed to do anything about it. This is important as it indicates negligence on their part and as such, I would anticipate you would succeed with a claim.

      As you will appreciate, injuries to the hands and fingers can cause complex ongoing problems and given the severity of your injury, you need to consider your long term future and how the injury may impact on your life. This would all be accounted for in a claim for personal injury compensation.

      We would like to help you make a claim on our No Win No Fee basis with our specialist Solicitors. Please call us on 01225430285 to get some initial help and find out how we can assist you. Alternatively, you can email me directly at ian@direct2compensation.co.uk and I will be only too happy to help you.

  5. Jason A. Pica

    What if after surgery the Doctor is trying to rush you back to work. When i’m still receiving physical therapy and it’s no where healed like it should be?

    • Ian Morris

      Jason

      A Doctor is duty bound to act in your best interests, so it is unlikely that they will try to force you back to work before they believe you to be fit and able to perform your job safely.

      However, if you believe that you are not fit to work, you should explain this to your Doctor and request a further period of signed sickness leave so that you can continue to recover. If your Doctor is unwilling to do this, you should seek a 2nd opinion – perhaps from your physiotherapist etc.

  6. Denis Taggart

    Hi i have had an injury at work probably about 6 months ago and now i require surgery, however the injury has not been recorded properly in work but i have been to see company nurse who checked my injury and advised me to see my gp asap at the time. Was just wondering where i would stand with this issue, should i go ahead with surgery because i would have to be off for around 6 weeks?

    • Ian Morris

      Denis

      Thank you for sharing your situation after an accident at work with us. Whether or not to go ahead with surgery is something only you and your Doctor can decide – I would not want to offer a view on medical issues as I am not medically qualified. I would have thought that despite the required 6 week absence from work, that it would be sensible to have the surgery.

      What I can say is that if you have had an accident at work, you may be able to make a claim for compensation against the employer – if the accident happened because of negligence from a colleague or the employer. For example, if the employer failed to provide adequate training or if you were not provided with safe tools/equipment, you may be able to hold the employer liable for your injuries and pursue a claim for compensation. If you were able to make a claim against the employer and the claim were successful, you would receive compensation for the injury as well as being able to claim special damages – which covers any lost income and costs incurred as a result of the accident.

  7. Gary Norton

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

    • 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

Direct2Compensation Personal Injury Claims

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