Explanation of What Loss of Amenity Means
Loss of amenity means that the injuries you have suffered in an accident that was not your fault have altered the quality of life you enjoyed prior to you accident. Compensation for loss of amenity is one of four elements in a typical injury claim in Ireland. The others are general damages for the physical injury sustained, compensation for psychological trauma and the recovery of any financial costs the plaintiff may have acquired in the aftermath of the accident. Compensation for loss of amenity is reflective of the limitations imposed on your social and domestic life as a result of your accident.
Examples of Loss of Amenity for Personal Injuries Claims
An injury can cause loss of amenity and affect a person’s quality of life in numerous different ways. Also, two people with an identical injury can be affected in different ways. An as example of what does loss of amenity mean, take two young men, both involved in workplace accidents where they both break their index fingers. One man enjoys playing the guitar as a hobby, the other watches TV when he returns home from work.
As the nature and severity of the physical injury is alike, both men would receive similar general damages to reflect this particular element. However, as the guitar player has felt a significant decline in his quality of life through no fault of his own, he should be eligible to receive a higher compensation settlement for his loss of amenity compared with the other man who may only experience slight difficulty operating his television’s remote control.
Other examples where it may be appropriate include loss of amenity in personal injuries claims are:
- A child who has damaged his hand in an accident at school, resulting in an inability to use a computer or mobile device to communicate with his or her friends
- A man or woman who plays sport recreationally who has injured their back in a slip and fall accident in a supermarket and can no longer play their preferred sport.
- A mother who suffers whiplash from a rear-end car accident who subsequently is unable to appear at her children’s non-academic school events such as sports days or school plays.
How Compensation for Loss of Amenity is Calculated
In comparison with other aspects of a personal injuries claim – where the severity of your physical and emotional injuries can be evaluated by medical experts and any expenses you have acquired can be proven by invoices and receipts – compensation for your loss of amenity is an individual issue which is sometimes quite difficult to calculate a financial value for.
You will not find loss of amenity compensation on an injury claims calculator or in the “Book of Quantum”. Any personal injury claim for loss of amenity could require testimonies from family, friends, teachers or work colleagues. In some cases, photo or video proof can provide satisfactorily validation to support a loss of amenity claim. After that, it will be assessed against compensation awards given in the past.
How does the Injuries Board Treat Loss of Amenity?
It is possible to make an application to the Injuries Board Ireland for an assessment of compensation online or on the hard-copy application Form A, although there is not much potential to explain the negative effect your injury has had on your life using either method.
The information you provide the Injuries Board with is the only documentation they will use to assess your claim for injury compensation and if you find you cannot explain the loss of amenity you have suffered adequately, the element of compensation for loss of amenity may be completely excluded from your overall claim.
A personal injuries solicitor will have had experience with these kinds of claims; therefore, if you believe that you have suffered a loss of amenity resulting from an accident in which you were not at fault, you would certainly be well advised to speak with a solicitor as soon as you possibly can.
What Offers from Insurance Companies and Loss of Amenity Mean
It is a distinct possibility that the negligent party’s insurers will approach you directly, soon after the time of the accident, with an offer of compensation. Such offers are more often not solely proposed for their and their client’s benefit, not yours. Very little consideration will be given to the financial implications of your injury and generally none will be given to your loss of amenity.
If you are approached by an insurance company after an accident that their policyholder holds all responsibility for in and which you sustained a personal injury, it is always advisable to consult with a solicitor before accepting the proposed settlement. Until the time when a complete and suitable settlement of your claim is negotiated, your solicitor should be able to apply for interim payments of compensation to relieve any pressure on your finances.
How to Maximise Your Loss of Amenity Compensation
Keeping a diary is the key to maximising your compensation for loss of amenity in personal injuries claims. It is recommended that you keep a record of each occasion your injury prevents you from taking part in a social or leisure activity that would formerly have been part of your regular routine. It is also worth taking note of any special event – a wedding, a holiday or significant party – you cannot attend due to your injury. The disappointment of being excluded from a momentous event will be add to the financial value of your claim, along with any other costs you have incurred that can be recovered through your personal injury claim.
If applicable, an on-going deterioration in the quality of your life may lead to compensation for future loss of amenity, and what does loss of amenity mean in these circumstances could make a significant difference to a personal injury claim.
It would be, therefore, in your best interest to talk with an expert personal injuries solicitor about how your injury has affected your quality of life. Your solicitor, who has had a lot of experience in this area, will be able to suggest which parts of your life you should include when considering loss of amenity in personal injuries claims and he or she could advise you on the financial value of your loss of amenity.