What is a compensation settlement made up of?

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

One of the most common questions put to us asks what decides a fair settlement value for a claim. There are two basic factors that your solicitor will use to evaluate your claim and reach a value on your settlement: injury severity, and special damages.

The severity of the injury

The amount of compensation for the injury itself will be decided on medical evidence and the severity of the injuryand how that affects your life. Clearly, the more severe the injury, the higher the level of compensation. In most circumstances, your injury will need to last a minimum of a few weeks. This element of your settlement consists of the value of the injury and the pain, distress and discomfort caused as a result of the injury and accident. An expert medical opinion will be sought to corroborate the details and the value will depend on whether the injury will heal, if so how long a recovery will take or if not, what level of recovery will be made.

Your solicitor will access your medical records and then organise for a specialist independent medical expert to interview you and assess your injury and what prognosis can be attached to your recovery. Upon receipt of a report from the expert, your solicitor will be able to tell how much compensation you can expect to receive for the injury.

Special Damages

Special damages is a term used to describe the additional elements of any claim. This will include lost income should the injury sustained by a claimant prevent them from working their normal hours and lose income. Clearly, if an injury is extremely serious and an injured person is no longer able to work, their claim value can become very high. An ongoing loss of income claim will cover the income the claimant would have expected for the remainder of their working life.

Special damages can also include sums for future medical treatment, ongoing care or adaptations to a claimants home, car or equipment needed by the claimant. It can also include small items such as property or clothing lost or damaged as a result of the accident and injury. This would normally include jewellery or items such as spectacles or mobile phones smashed or broken in falls.

To sum up, special damages could include:

  • Loss of wages or earning ability
  • Requirements for post accident care and support
  • Medical costs
  • Out of pocket expenses
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Personal losses

Case precedents

Injuries carry case law precedent values – this means that previous cases heard in court have decided levels of compensation and that similar future claims should be based on that precedent. From this your solicitor can work out the minimum and maximum value of the claim for the injuries and any ongoing care or treatment requirements.

To add to this, your solicitor will ask you for information on your lost income, cost of care or products purchased for you as a result of your accident. These factors provide the basis for the evaluation of your claim.

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

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Questions & Advice On Claiming

  • Scott

    I was working for driver hire, where I did a job that has casued chronic sciatica. I have been advised by my Doctor not to drive and I am now on opiates for pain control along with a laxative. I have had an MRI that confirms my sciatica. I have looked for an alternative job that was advertised as cleaning but the agency have kept me away from the cleaning jobs and said that they will list me as a driver, so I advised then about what my Doctor had said and that I should not drive when on pain medication. I now have lots of debt due to my zero hour contract and I have now had an email about my p45.

    What should I do??

    • Ian Morris

      You should not attempt to drive if you are on the kind of pain management medication that your GP has prescribed and you are right to follow your Doctors advice and avoid driving work.

      Where we may be able to help is with a claim for personal injury compensation and recovery of lost income, should the cause of your sciatica be attributable to employer negligence or bad working practices. Although you were working via an agency, you have the same rights in terms of personal injury as a permanent contracted employee. With this in mind, we need to know more about the cause of the injury to your back and the sciatica symptoms you have developed. We need to know the kind of work you were doing, whether you were expected to lift items exceeding the safe lifting limit, whether your employer provided manual handling training and whether you had the right equipment and tools/support to enable you to work safely.

      Please call us on 01225430285 to further discuss this matter.

  • Hollie Watts


    Would you be able to tell me if this sounds right to you?
    We have not yet contracted a Barrister so why has the cost of that been included? Also should I be paying half of my settlement towards the cost of the solicitors? Unfortunately we do not have insurance.

    Here is the email:
    The insurers have responded as follows :-

    “Our client strongly of the view that they will escape liability if the matter proceeds to trial. However, whilst we are without instructions at this time, we do consider that our client may be persuaded by a costs inclusive offer in the region of £9,000, which we consider to be reflective of the liability position.

    We would be grateful if could advise whether this is something your client would be prepared to consider.”

    If we were to consider the all inclusive offer of £9000.00, then I must inform you that our costs at this stage currently stand at £8405.00 exclusive of VAT (£10,086.00 including VAT).

    With regard to costs already incurred, as you are aware you have already paid for the medical report (£660.00) and the Court issue fee £750.00). The total that you have paid to date therefore stands at £1410.00.

    However you have also paid on account the Trial fee of £545.00 which must be paid soon, although obviously if a settlement can be achieved at this stage then that money will be returned to you.

    In addition we have the Barristers fees of £850.00.

    If we were to look at the £9000.00 figure therefore and deduct the paid disbursements and Counsels fees, this would leave a balance of £6740.00 and if you were minded to consider accepting the insurers proposals, then we would be prepared to agree to split this amount with yourself on a equal basis such that we would be accepting total costs of £3370.00 (£2808.33 plus VAT) and you would receive a payment of £3370.00 in full and final settlement of your claim, as well as being repaid the above payments on account (£1410.00 already paid and the £545.00 Trial fee).

    Thank you for looking at this for us. This has been going on for nearly 2 years and even though we can prove that some of the documents provided by the defendants were forged our solicitor has left it to late to ask them about the documents.
    He is also now saying that if the other side does not accept the offer then he will not be able to continue on a ‘No win no fee’ basis even though we signed a CFA agreement.


    • Ian Morris

      It would appear that whilst this outcome is not perfect, it may be the best outcome possible as the defendant is of the view that they will succeed at trial and your Solicitor seems to agree and will not therefore pursue the claim should you refuse the offer.

      With regards to the Barrister fee – you should point out that you do not believe that a Barrister has been consulted and that you require evidence that one has or that the fee should be withdrawn from their calculations.

  • Meri

    It is legal for solicitors to deduct barrister fees of £720 incl. VAT from compensation reward? Additional to 25%?

    • Ian Morris

      The cost of the Barrister is not normally something that should be deducted from a claimants settlement as it should be a recoverable cost.

  • Behzad

    I had an accident on 20 May 2019. My Solicitor now says that after declining the defendants first offer and taking the matter to court, the compensation settlement offer is nearly £1200 less than the first offer! I don’t get it? can you help me understand?

    • Ian Morris

      If we have understood correctly, it would appear that after refusing the defendants previous offer, you have handed the decision on an appropriate settlement to the courts and allowed a Judge to decide what compensation you should receive.

      It is unfortunate if it is the case that the Judge has favoured the defendant and awarded you an offer that is over £1000 less than the one you rejected. If we are correct in our understanding, as a Judge has decided this award, you are very limited in your options. Whilst you could risk appealing the Judgement, the likelihood is that your Solicitors No Win No Fee agreement will not cover you for the work needed in such an appeal and the risks are that you would get the same outcome of Judgement of award on appeal and face additional court costs – thus losing further damages.

  • Steve

    My mum and dad were involved in a car rta, solicitors had a medical report done. Offered my dad 3k and my mum 4k, solicitor said she will go for a higher offer but I believe the medical report has not been accurate and also can I claim for looking after them after the accident as the are OAP?

    • Ian Morris

      If you believe that the medical reports contain errors or inaccuracies, it is vitally important that they are noted to the Solicitor and corrected. The medical report has a big impact on claim valuation, so any mistakes or errors could see your parents claims undervalued.

      You cannot claim anything directly for having to provide care, you but your parents claim should include special damages which will enable them to recover out of pocket expenses and potentially recover something for the time and help you have had to give your parents due to their injuries.

  • Connor

    Pub had no public occupancy liability insurance, they want to settle out of court for £3000 max. My solicitor claiming cost of £2800 includes disbursement reports etc, leaving myself with £200 as compensation. They advised may be prudent to accept the offer as even if we went court the pub owners my not pay up. Can this be right?

    • Ian Morris

      It is hard to advise without having full access to your file with your existing Solicitor, but if the pub has no insurance then there is a risk of pursuing them further as the individual that owns the pub may not have the financial resources to settle the costs of the claim and that would leave you with nothing.

      However, your Solicitor should not be deducting £2800 from a £3000 settlement as that is way over 25%.

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