Why Do I Have To Submit Documents To Prove My Loss Of Earnings In The Personal Injury Claim?
I was unable to work due to my injury, is that not enough?
If you have been involved in an accident, through no fault of your own, you may have suffered physical and psychological personal injuries for which you can make a claim against the party at fault i.e. the Defendant.
For most cases the Defendant will have appropriate insurance in place to deal with your claim and your Solicitor will submit your claim to the Defendant’s Insurer on your behalf.
In addition to the claim for injuries, you can also claim for any financial losses and expenses you may have suffered as a result of the accident. This is referred to as a claim for Special Damages. The compensation you receive for Special Damages is intended to put you back in the position as if the accident never took place.
In relation to proving any physical and psychological injuries suffered, independent expert medical evidence will be obtained to prove the injuries you have suffered as a result of an accident. Is that the same process for proving what financial losses you may have suffered? Not quite.
Types of Special Damages
I set out below the ways of making a claim for any financial losses and why these issues should be considered from the outset of your claim:
- Loss of Earnings: for employed individuals you will need to provide payslips for 3 – 6 months prior to the accident and payslips covering the actual period of loss. For self-employed individuals, you will need to provide 3 years tax returns and profit and loss accounts and the same covering the period of loss. It is important to prepare these documents at an early stage of the claim to avoid misplacing documents.
- Private Medical Treatment: this could be private treatment such as physiotherapy or counselling. It is important to tell your Solicitor about these treatment costs and provide any supporting receipts so that these expenses can be included in a document called schedule of special damages, which lists all your expenses and losses. There are cases where a Claimant is having private medical treatment through their private medical insurer. It is very important to tell your Solicitors about this at the outset of your claim so the insurer’s outlay is included in your schedule of special damages. If this is not included and your claim is settled, it will be very unlikely to claim these costs and you will be personally responsible for these treatment costs.
- Care & Assistance: you can make a claim for care you may have received from family or friends as a result of your injuries. This could be for help with cooking, shopping, cleaning. You should keep a diary or log of the help required, this includes how long the help was required and who provided the care.
- Travel Expenses: keep a note of any appointments for seeing a hospital consultant, rehabilitation and the medical examination as you can claim costs for any bus, train or taxi fares or mileage costs if you travelled by car for these appointments.
- Future Losses and Expenses: this can include future loss of earnings, travel, care, treatment expenses. Medical evidence commenting on the need of such future expenses is very important to support these losses.
Supportive Expert Medical Evidence
It is important that you inform the independent medical expert of the above losses during your medical examination so that the expert can comment on the reasonableness of you suffering these losses as a result of the accident. This is in addition to providing the above supporting documentation.
In some cases the losses can be significant and more than the value of the injury claim for example a claim for past and future loss of earnings. It is therefore important that you notify your Solicitor of any financial losses at the outset and take steps to mitigate such losses by seeking early treatment where necessary such as physiotherapy or psychological therapy such as CBT. If you do not do this, this could have the impact of reducing your damages.
Recently I’ve had clients ask why they need to disclose personal documents such as payslips and bank statements to support their claim for loss of earnings. The Defendant’s Insurer will not pay you compensation just because you say you have been injured and suffered a financial loss. You as the Claimant have an obligation to identify the financial loss and how much that loss amounted to. The Defendant insurer or a medical expert will not work this out for you.
Here at Hodge Jones & Allen we obtain and collate evidence early from our client to prove their losses and prepare a Schedule of Special Damages setting out these losses. Evidence is key in proving your financial losses and earlier the better.