What financial losses I can claim for in a personal injury claim?
In personal injury claims, financial losses are known as “Special Damages”. Claimants are entitled to claim for financial losses and out of pocket expenses arising as a result of their accident. The law say that you are to be placed in the same position you would have been in, but for the accident.
There are various different financial losses that you are able to claim in addition to your claim for injuries such as:
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 for a period of 13 weeks prior to the accident and for the period of absence itself, 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.
In some situations you may have received full sick pay from your employer and not lost out at all, however depending on your contract of employment, your employer may require you to repay any sick pay that is paid to you as a result of an accident related injury. If this is the case, this can be included in your claim for special damages.
2. Costs of medical treatment
Where you have suffered a significant injury, you may 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 commenced treatment.
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
As a result of your injuries you may be restricted with the everyday tasks that you are able to do and 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 at a cost. If care is needed, you are able to claim for both the paid and unpaid help you receive that is required because of your accident.
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. Travelling 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 car.
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.
6. Items or clothing damaged in the accident
Often in accidents, items can be damaged. For example clothing may have been damaged, a mobile phone or tablet may have been broken or you may have damaged items of jewellery. If this is the case, you are able to claim the cost of replacement items.
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”.
7. Vehicle repairs or replacement costs
Claims for vehicle damage may be covered by your own insurance, however an excess is often payable and this is something that can be recovered from your opponent. Alternatively, you can make a claim for vehicle damage as part of your special damages. An engineer’s report will be obtained detailing the damage and forwarded to your opponent’s insurers who will be able to deal with the required repairs or make a payment for the cost of the vehicle.
8. 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, as the Claimant you are expected to keep your losses to a minimum. This is known as “mitigating your losses”. 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.