Can you Explain What is my Personal Injury* Claim Worth?
As every case is unique, when you ask the question “what is my personal injury* claim worth?” you must take several factors into consideration. No matter how similar two personal injury* claims seem, each case should have its worth evaluated on its own individual components.
In Ireland, the worth of personal injury* claims is usually made up of four main factors. Not all will apply in each claim and some cases will require the addition of supplementary elements. It may also be some time before the full effect of each component is understood; leading to a potential delay in determining how much a claim is worth.
The Four Main Factors of Personal Injury* Claims
1. General Damages for Pain and Suffering
The compensation value for the physical injury you suffered is measured against the Book of Quantum – a publication which lists a variety of injuries with a range of applicable financial values with regards to the injury’s severity, how long the recovery time may be and its possible permanence.
When a value has been determined, account is made for your age, your state of health prior to the accident in which your injury was sustained and, in some cases, your sex. Consider this scenario; an older man and younger woman both suffered similar eye injuries which left a noticeable scar. The younger woman would receive a higher compensation settlement to account for the probable longer length of time she would have to live with the scar and, in addition, she would receive a premium for her gender as the law consents that women place a higher degree of importance on their appearance than men.
2. General Damages for Psychological Trauma
It has been recognised by trauma experts that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a consequence of every accident and you may be able to include the factor of psychological trauma in the calculation of “what is my personal injury* claim worth?” if it can be confirmed by a medical expert. It is not always necessary for you to have sustained a physical injury to be eligible for compensation for a psychological injury.
You may also qualify for personal injury* claim compensation for psychological trauma if you suffer from anxiety or depression as a result of your injuries or if your confidence levels are low due to the nature of your accident – if you fall from a height, for example, and subsequently develop acrophobia. It may be required of you to undergo a psychiatric assessment in order to determine your eligibility for general damages for psychological trauma and it may be some time before the full value of your psychological trauma is established, as this type of injury generally takes the longest to manifest.
3. General Damages for Loss of Amenity
It is not only your injuries – both physical and psychological – that are taken into consideration when the worth of personal injury* claims is being evaluated, but also the impact your injuries have had on your quality of life. If you are unable to perform day to day tasks, or if you cannot partake in social or leisure activities you enjoyed prior to your injuries, you may qualify for “loss of amenity” compensation. Compensation for loss of amenity cannot be measured against a “Book of Quantum” or other such guide, and this factor of general damages would be calculated by taking into account awards for previous cases in similar situations relating to your own individual lifestyle.
4. Special Damages for Financial Expenses
The worth of personal injury* claims can also be affected by special damages, which relate to financial matters – the costs you have incurred or may incur in the future which can be attributed directly to the negligence the person or entity responsible for your injury. Your financial position once your claim is resolved should be no worse than had your accident never occurred.
Relevant costs such as medical expenses, using alternative modes of transport if you are temporarily unable to drive or restructuring your home if you have been left confined to a wheelchair can be recovered in a claim for special damages provided that receipts, invoices and other reliable financial documents can be presented to justify the expense. In the event of a catastrophic injury to a young child, which means that they will never be able to work, special damages will replace a lifetime of possible earnings that has been denied to the child through somebody else´s carelessness.
Other Elements to Consider when you ask What is my Personal Injury* Claim Worth?
It is worth noting that “what is my personal injury* claim worth?” could be significantly reduced if it can be proven that you contributed to the cause of your injury of the extent of injuries. A common example of contributory negligence is when the potential plaintiff is injured in a car accident that they were not responsible for causing, but they contributed to the extent of their injuries by not wearing a seatbelt. Contributory negligence could also apply, however, if the injured party did not seek medical treatment immediately after the accident occurred without justification.
If you do see a doctor, but fail to adequately communicate to the doctor the symptoms you are experiencing – particularly in medical negligence* cases – this too may count as contributory negligence. Furthermore, the worth of personal injury* claims could be affected if you inadvertently accept an unsolicited compensation settlement from the negligent party’s insurers without first having your claim assessed by an expert personal injury* solicitor. If the settlement you accept proves to be an inadequate amount to cover your medical costs or support your family, you cannot return to the insurance company to ask for more.
You would be, therefore, well advised to have your claim worth evaluated by an experienced solicitor at the first moment possible, even if no conclusive figure can be calculated to tell you the exact value of your claim at the time.
What is my Personal Injury* Claim Worth: A Summary
- The amount of compensation for personal injury* claims is established by several factors.
- Special damages for out of pocket costs can be included when your personal injury* claim is being evaluated.
- The evaluation of your claim value will be affected by any negligent actions of your own behalf.
- Accepting an unsolicited offer of settlement without first seeking the opinion of a solicitor is included under the umbrella of contributory negligence.
- You should always have the claim value for your case assessed by a solicitor as no two claims are ever the same.
Each personal injury* compensation claim is unique and if you believe that you may have a possible personal injury* claim, it would be in your best interest to discuss with a solicitor the points raised in this article at the first moment possible.