What Financial Losses Can I Include In My Personal Injury Claim?
In personal injury claims, financial losses are known as “Special Damages”. When making a personal injury claim, as well as claiming an amount for your injury, you are also entitled to claim for financial losses and out of pocket expenses arising as a result of your accident. The law says that you are to be placed in the same position you would have been in, but for the accident.
Here are some of the most common losses you may need to claim?
1. Loss of earnings
If you have had to take time off work as a result of your injuries you may have lost out on earnings.
You will need to provide evidence to support the loss of earnings that is being claimed. This normally takes the form of wage slips from before your accident up to the time you returned to work, together with a letter from your employer confirming your time off work. If you are self-employed, you will normally be expected to provide tax returns and accounts for three years prior to the accident and for the period of absence.
Future Loss of earnings
If your injuries mean that you are no longer able to work or need to retire earlier than you had planned then you will also need to claim for your future loss of earnings. If your inability to work is permanent then the loss of earnings could potentially be calculated up to the relevant age of retirement.
A particularly long period of absence from work and you or your employer stop making contributions to your pension, it may cause you a future loss when you come to draw your pension.
2. Costs of medical treatment
Where you have suffered a significant injury, you are likely to need medical treatment to help with your recovery, for example physiotherapy, chiropractic treatment or counselling. You are entitled to recover the costs of private treatment from your opponent provided it is deemed reasonable by a medical expert.
You will be expected to provide invoices for treatment that you have received, or a quote for the treatment that has been recommended if you have not yet started.
If you are receiving treatment through a private healthcare provider as a result of your accident, the provider could wish to claim the cost of the treatment provided. If so, this can be included in your claim.
3. Medication costs
Often, following an accident your GP will prescribe medication to help manage your symptoms. You are able to claim the cost of both prescription and over the counter medication and remedies and you should therefore make sure you keep hold of any receipts.
4. Care and assistance
Being injured may mean you face restrictions on what you are able to do for yourself and you may require somebody to provide you with care or assist you with tasks that you now struggle with. This could be family or friends that are able to assist you, or you may need to employ someone to help you. If care is needed, you can claim for both the paid and unpaid help you receive.
The need for care and assistance will need to be supported with medical evidence, together with invoices for paid care, or statements from the family or friends that are assisting you.
5. Accommodation alterations
Often people with serious injuries will need significant adaptations to their home, for example installing a stair lift. If you have suffered a life altering injury, you may even need to move to more suitable living accommodation, for example a wheelchair accessible house or bungalow
6. Special equipment & mobility aids
If you need special equipment as a result of your injuries, these can also be included in your claim provided they are deemed reasonable and necessary by a medical expert. For example, a specialist wheelchair or walking aids may be needed for serious injuries.
7. Travel expenses
Very often, as a result of your injuries you will need to make journeys to various medical appointments with your GP, hospital or for treatment. You may also have incurred additional costs of travelling as a result of your injuries, for example if prior to the accident you walked or cycled to work but as a result of your injuries needed to travel by public transport or taxi.
You are entitled to claim reasonable travel expenses for any accident related trips that you need to make and should, therefore, make sure to keep any travel receipts.
8. Items or clothing damaged in the accident
If any of your personal belongings are damaged as a result of your accident these can also be included in your claim. For example clothing may have been damaged or cut off by paramedics, a mobile phone may have been broken or your bicycle may be damaged.
You should ensure that you take photographs of the damaged items, and where possible provide either original purchase receipts or estimates for replacements. Where items are several years old at the time of the accident then a deduction may be applied for “wear and tear”.
9. Vehicle repairs or replacement costs
If you have been involved in a road traffic accident, it is likely your vehicle has been damaged. Claims for vehicle damage are usually covered by your own car insurance, however an excess is often payable. If you have paid an excess make sure you inform your solicitor who will try to claim this back for you.
10. Trips or holidays missed
If you have missed a holiday or planned trip as a result of your injuries you may be able to claim the cost of the holiday if you have been unable to get a refund. If you have been able to cancel the holiday then you may be able to claim the cost of any cancellation fee that you have been charged.
Mitigating your losses
With any claim for financial losses you are likely to hear the term “mitigating your losses”. This means that as the Claimant you are expected to do your best to keep your losses to a minimum.
You are also expected to be able to provide sufficient evidence of each item claimed in order to recover your losses. It is therefore important to keep hold of all of your receipts and documents relating to financial losses you wish to claim in order to have the best chance of recovering these expenses.
It is vital to ensure that all of your financial losses are included when your claim is being valued by your solicitor because once your claim has settled you are unable to go back and add any further losses or claim them at a later date. You must therefore make sure that you claim for absolutely everything before starting settlement negotiations.
If you’ve been involved in an accident and would like more information about what you can claim please contact our helpful and experienced Personal Injury team who will be able to guide you through the process or call us on 0808 252 5231 alternatively you can request a call back.