How Do We Value A Personal Injury Claim?
As a personal injury file handler, the most common questions I am asked from my clients are – how much compensation will I receive for my personal injury claim and how do you calculate that figure?
Claims are calculated on a case by case basis and the amounts can vary significantly depending on the individual circumstances of your claim. Factors such as the severity of your injury or illness, the impact on your day-to-day life and your specific needs will be taken into consideration.
At the start of a claim clients will often ask how much my claim worth is. Whilst we cannot provide an exact figure we are able to provide an estimate of how much the claim for injuries is worth using Judicial College Guidelines which are guidance by a panel of Judges. Our PI calculator can provide some very useful guidance as to how much the claim could potentially be worth based on the information you have provided at the time. You have the opportunity to input details of the date of the accident and injuries sustained and the calculator will provide you with an estimated bracket as to how much the claim could be worth. Of course this could be subject to change as the severity of the injuries may not be known at the start of the claim.
The value of your claim is decided by reference to two separate types of compensation:
- General Damages
- Special Damages
General damages relate to the injuries you have suffered as a result of the accident. In basic terms, the more you have suffered, and may suffer in future, the greater the compensation you are likely to receive for your injury.
The two main methods for calculating general damages are:
- Consulting the Judicial College (JC) Guidelines – and
- Comparing your injuries to previous cases (where similar injuries have been suffered)
Judicial College Guidelines
The first thing to look at the Judicial College Guidelines, which are a set of guidelines, set by the Judicial Studies Board.
The guidelines are broken down into sections according to different parts of the body and the severity of injury and provides a series of broad bracketed figures into which various types of injury, from physical to psychological, should be awarded. The guidelines are updated regularly, most recently being April 2022.
So if, for example, you have suffered a back injury, I will first of all look at Judicial College Guidelines to get a broad bracket for that type of injury, and will be mindful of impact on work, any permanent disability and how the injury has affected home life and social activities. Other factors I would consider is whether any treatment was needed, such as surgery, or rehabilitation treatment.
The next thing I would do once I have identified which bracket your injuries fall in is to look at case law. This involves looking at previous cases where similar injuries were suffered and what those Claimants were awarded at court. Case law are published in the legal press or specialist valuation sites.
The defendant insurers and solicitors will also use these resources to value your claim.
Special damages are the financial losses you suffer as a result of the accident.
When valuing your claim, I will take into account any out of pocket expenses, such as loss of earnings, care provided to you, travelling expenses, any private medical expenses, and miscellaneous expenses, which could be anything from loss of enjoyment of a holiday, to damaged clothing to painkillers.
It is always a good idea to keep evidence of financial losses as the Defendant are unlikely to make any offers for undocumented offers. Evidence can be Wage slips, profit and loss accounts if you are self-employed, receipts, invoices, or banks statements etc.
It is important to mitigate your losses wherever possible. This means that if there is a suitable and cheaper option available you should use this rather than accrue a more expensive loss.
The best way to maximise your damages is to instruct an experienced Solicitor who can carefully value your claim. Any good solicitor will be taking the time to research the value of your injuries properly and will give you correct and accurate advice, using up to date information and the evidence obtained in your claim, in order to achieve a fair and reasonable settlement for the injuries you have received.
If you have suffered a personal injury and would like to speak with one of our specialist solicitors call us today on 0808 271 9413. You can also use our personal injury calculator to get an estimate of how much your claim may be worth.