Personal Injury Claims – Types of Damages


If you are hurt in an accident caused by someone else, become ill as a result of your employer’s failure to follow correct health and safety procedures or are injured as a result of clinical negligence, you may have the right to claim compensation or ‘damages’ for your injury. There are two types of damages in personal injury claims, ‘general damages’ and ‘special damages’.
General Damages
This is the term given to money paid to compensate you for your actual injury, such as for pain and suffering and for any loss of amenity. The amount of compensation that you will be entitled to depends on the nature and extent of your injury and the length of time it will take for you to make a full recovery. If you are not expected to recover fully, the compensation awarded will be based on the extent of any ailment or disability that you will suffer from in the future and the impact this will have on your life.
Personal injury cases require the report of one or more medical practitioners to provide evidence as to the nature and extent of your injuries. This report, for which you may need to have a physical examination, assists in determining how much you should be paid by way of general damages and will be compiled with reference to your prior medical history.
If your case goes to trial the court will decide the amount that you should be paid. If your case is settled prior to trial, the parties will negotiate an amount of general damages that is acceptable to both sides.
Special Damages
These damages are paid to compensate you for financial loss that you may have suffered as a result of your injury. This could be the cost of travel to and from hospital, lost earnings for any time you have to take off work, damage to your clothes or other belongings or the cost of any care you need while recuperating from your injury. If you were involved in a car accident, this could also include the cost of having to hire a replacement car.
Provisional Damages
In limited circumstances, if there is a ‘measurable’ chance that your condition will deteriorate in the future or that you will develop a disease as a result of the injury, the court may award provisional general damages. The court then makes an order that allows it to reconsider its position in relation to the amount of general damages, but only in the event that you suffer a ‘serious deterioration’ at a later date.
The amount of damages that you are awarded can also depend on the apportionment of fault for the accident. If, for example, you were not to blame for the accident but your actions made your injury worse, or if you were partially at fault in the occurrence of the accident, then you may not be entitled to the full amount of compensation that you would otherwise receive.
There are strict protocols and time limits in place for making claims for damages in personal injury cases. To find out whether you might be entitled to claim compensation after an accident, contact us for advice.

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