If you have been involved in an accident which was not your fault, there are two types of damages which you can claim for.

These are General Damages and Special Damages.

General Damages are compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. This covers the physical injuries suffered as a result and also the impact the accident has had on you personally. These damages will be specific to you and your circumstances. A medical report will be needed in order to quantify the amount your injuries are worth.

Special Damages are the out of pocket, usually financial, expenses that you may have as a result of the accident. Typical types of financial losses are loss of earnings, care and assistance, travel expenses, prescription charges, policy excess.

Loss of earnings is the most common financial loss and will occur if you are unable to work after being in an accident and your employer does not pay you in full. If you are off work as a result of an accident and are not being paid you can claim for statutory sick pay but you are still likely to be out of pocket.

Usually a client will be able to seek to recover their basic salary, overtime, bonuses. If the accident is serious, there may be a future loss of earnings claim. Pension payments may also be affected.

So how to you know what loss of earnings you have?

When calculating a client’s loss of earnings, we firstly ascertain how long they have been off work for. We will obtain at least three months’ wage slips. The reason for this is that the court will normally look at your net monthly wage prior to the accident, obtain an average amount (over 13 weeks or so) and then multiply that average amount by the amount of time the client was off work. This then gives us the amount which should have been paid. We are required to deduct any sums received and then that should leave the loss being claimed. Bonus and over time information may alter the calculation slightly.

But what if you are self-employed?

This is a bit more complex, as you won’t have the monthly wage slips to calculate the loss, however, it does still come down to evidence. We contact our client’s accountant in order to obtain the information needed. Your accountant will provide a detailed record of your profits and losses for the time prior to the accident and for the time you were out of work. They may also have evidence of invoices for supplies that you had to pay for or contracts already agreed but due to the accident you have been unable to fulfill.

What other losses can be included in special damages?

Whatever you are looking to claim for with regards to special damages, you will need the evidence to prove the losses. Receipts, invoices, paid prescriptions and most importantly accounts. Always keep a detailed record of these if you want to claim for special damages.

If you would like any further information on how to claim for special damages if you have been involved in an accident, please call Maxwell Hodge Solicitors.

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