When advising clients how much their personal injury claim is worth, often we hear many people say something along the lines of, “I know someone who had the same injury that received a lot more than that!”. Often, they can be right. Which may sound surprising; however, every case is different and similar injuries may result in very different financial outcomes depending on a variety of different factors. In this article, we are going to discuss some of the main reasons why compensation amounts for an individual’s personal injury claim can differ from person to person.
Factors which can affect the compensation you receive
Compensation for the injury
There are currently no fixed tariff amounts in personal injury cases, except Criminal Injury Claims, which we won’t mention in this article.
The award for damages for the injury itself, known as ‘Pain, Suffering and Loss of Amenity’ is tailored to the individual and reflects how it has affected the individual personally, particularly in relation to their work, lifestyle, hobbies, and other personal interests. For example, if a middle-aged man was left with a 4cm scar on his cheek, this could be worth around £2,000, but if a young teenage girl has suffered the same injury, it could be worth around £10,000 or more to them, particularly if this caused them embarrassment or made them self-conscious which resulted in psychological effects such as depression or anxiety. Historically, courts tend to award higher levels of compensation to females with physical scars than they would award to men with similar injuries.
If someone suffers from whiplash to their neck and back and then recovers within 6 months, they could normally expect to be awarded a sum up to £2,500. However, someone else who suffered the same injury could be awarded much more if, for example, it happened before a big event such as a holiday, their wedding, or prevented them from taking part in something they had been excited about for a long time such as a triathlon.
Personal injury settlements are not fixed amounts, so it can vary from person to person. If neither party can agree on a settlement, then a Judge decides how much a personal injury claim is worth, and Judges can vary in how they approach cases. Some Judges may be more likely to award higher sums than others, so it depends upon the opinions and views of the Judge who is hearing your case as to how much compensation you receive. The chances are if we asked 3 different Judges to value a case, we would get 3 different amounts.
Loss of earnings
Another big factor which affects how much you will be awarded for a personal injury claim is loss of earnings. Say for example you suffer an injury where you cannot work for 2 weeks and usually, you would earn £500 a week, then you would have £1000 included in your award for loss of earnings. However, someone with the same injury who is off work for the same amount of time but only earns £200 a week would only get an extra £400 added to their award. If a person who is unemployed suffers this same accident, they would not recover anything extra for loss of earnings. This, therefore, can make a noticeable difference in compensation for people with an identical injury.
A ruined holiday
If the victim was injured before a holiday, which was ruined by their injuries either through lost enjoyment or because they had to cancel, then they may be able to recover the cost or part of the cost of the holiday in their compensation. If one person was going for a 2-week holiday to the Caribbean, they would probably recover more money than a person was going for a weekend away in a caravan in Wales as the cost of the holidays would vary considerably. Those who recover completely before their next holiday would not receive anything under this head of loss.
Care and assistance needed
Personal injury damages may include sums for unpaid care and assistance provided by relatives and friends as well as money spent on paying others such as gardeners, builders, or cleaners to help them out with work that they would’ve done themselves otherwise. For example, if someone was in the middle of decorating their house at the time of the accident and had to pay a decorator £700 to finish the work because of their injury, they may be able to recover this cost. Also, if someone has children who they usually care for but cannot do so after the accident whilst they recover, and their partner then has to take time off to do this, they may be awarded the cost of their partners lost wages and would receive more than someone who did not have any children.
Potential future losses
Some people will suffer from injuries which lead to them incurring losses after their claim is settled, such as loss of earnings or the need for paid care. If they do, this normally results in a large increase in the value of their personal injury claim. One example of how these awards can vary would be two people of the same or similar age who suffer from a leg injury which results in a permanent disability, meaning they can no longer walk long distances or run at all. If one of them works in an office, they would receive very little damages for future earnings, whereas if the other person was a professional footballer, the loss of earnings award could be huge.
These are just a few of the many examples of how compensation for a personal injury can vary from person to person and why two people who have suffered from very similar injuries may be awarded very different amounts in compensation.
The best way of maximising the amount of compensation you receive for a personal injury claim is to instruct an experienced personal injury solicitor. This way, you are more likely to be the person on the right end of this common “they got more than me” story. An experienced personal injury solicitor, like HNK Solicitors, will fight hard to ensure you get every last penny you deserve in compensation for personal injury claim.
How can HNK Solicitors help you with your personal injury claim?
If you are looking to make a personal injury claim, and want to instruct a specialised personal injury lawyer, get in touch with our specialist team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0151 688 0809, or visit our website. Our dedicated team will work hard to ensure you get the compensation you deserve and can advise you on how much you may be able to receive based on your specific circumstances.