If you are unfortunate enough to have been the victim of medical negligence, you may be entitled to an award of compensation. The compensation you are entitled to reflects not only the pain and suffering you have endured due to the injury itself (known as “General Damages”) but also any financial losses you have sustained in the past or will incur in the future as a result of the negligence (known as “Special Damages”).
This part of the claim for compensation relates directly to the injury you have suffered, for example, a negligently perforated bowel during an operation or a misdiagnosed fracture which has caused additional harm. Not only does it reflect the pain and suffering you have endured, but it also takes into account your “loss of amenity”, meaning any detrimental effect the injury has had on your quality of life.
The starting point in valuing General Damages is to use a book called the Judicial College Guidelines, which provides an assessment of different types of injuries referring to the different parts of the body. It provides guidance as to the likely award based on the severity of your injury.
In addition to using the JC Guidelines, General Damages are also valued by lawyers using case law. This requires looking at reports of claims with similar facts to your claim and assessing how much was awarded in that particular claim.
In addition to General Damages, you may also be entitled to out-of-pocket expenses, with the intention of attempting to put you back in the financial position you would have been in but for the negligently caused injury.
The amount of Special Damages varies from claim to claim and is often why two claims for the same type of injury sustained can provide for differing final settlement awards.
Special Damages are divided into “Past Special Damages” and “Future Special Damages”, and can include but are not limited to: -
Loss of Earnings
Care needs – whether by friends and family or commercial care being required
Aids and Equipment
In some claims in which the victim requires a high level of care as a result of medical negligence, an additional award known as “periodical payments” may be made as part of the total settlement award. These are annual payments made to you over a period of time to ensure you have financial cover to meet the costs of that care.
Ultimately, every claim is different, and the final settlement figure will depend upon the severity of the injury and what the recovery period is likely to be. This can impact both the value of General Damages and Special Damages.
At Graystons, we understand the importance of establishing what your additional needs are in order to ensure you receive the right amount of compensation you are entitled to.
We hope you found this post helpful. If you would like assistance with a medical negligence case, please contact us via our contact form or call us directly on 0151 645 0055