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What are special damages and can I claim for them?

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When should an accident or disease be reported to the Health and Safety Executive?

The compensatory award made in personal injury claims can be separated into two parts: general damages and special damages. General damages are awarded to compensate the person who has been injured for their pain, suffering and loss of amenity. Special damages, however, are awarded in order to cover the financial losses and expenses incurred as a result of the accident. This can include a claim for care and assistance provided to the injured person, loss of earnings, travel expenses and various other expenses incurred dependent upon each individual claim.

Care and assistance

As part of a personal injury claim, a claim for reasonable care and assistance may be made for that provided to the injured person following an accident. This care can be that provided by family members or friends and does not have to be specifically provided by someone employed to nurse or care for the injured person.

Care and assistance can be split into two categories: personal assistance and domestic assistance. Personal assistance can include things such as mobility assistance around the home, help with washing and cleansing and any personal hygiene care. Domestic assistance can include tasks such as doing the household shopping, cleaning, driving, taking the children to school and preparing meals. Only additional care and assistance provided can be claimed following an accident.

Care and assistance is claimed on an hourly rate basis at a reduced rate to reflect the fact that the care has been provided by a family or friend and not an employed professional. A claim for care needed in the future may also be included where applicable.

Loss of earnings

Whether employed or self-employed, one can also claim for loss of earnings incurred following involvement in an accident or for loss of earnings incurred whilst caring for someone who has been involved in an accident. Your solicitors will collate evidence to support your loss of earnings claim dependent upon whether you are, or were, employed (i.e., wage slips) or self-employed (i.e., tax returns or profit and loss accounts). Loss of earnings often makes up a large part of the Special Damages claim.

Other expenses

If an injured person has incurred expenses when travelling to medical appointments or to the hospital, including mileage costs, taxi charges or parking fees, these may also be included in the special damages claim. Other expenses can and will vary greatly dependent upon each individual claim and the person making it. However, it is not uncommon to claim for the expense of things such as the cost of necessary treatment, future surgery costs or future travel expenses, any damaged items of clothing, medication or prescription charges and any equipment that will be needed to manage an injury.

For any expenses such as those listed above, for anyone making a claim, it is strongly recommended to retain any receipts or other proof of payment which may eventually be used as evidence of the same.

What to do after an accident

If you have suffered an injury as a result of an accident and required care and assistance from those around you following, it will be extremely helpful in supporting your claim if you keep a diary of care provided to you, how long was spent providing each type of assistance, how often this was done and how this changes as you recover from your injuries.

Our specialist personal injury team can help you to bring a claim on your behalf and advise you on claiming reasonable losses and expenses, including care and assistance. Call our personal injury solicitors today on 0161 696 6235 to discuss if you could be entitled to claim compensation.

By Lucy Moran, graduate paralegal