How Much is my Personal Injury Claim Worth?
The value of a personal injury claim depends entirely on the individual factors in each different scenario. It is vital to keep in mind that no two claims for injury compensation in Ireland are the same – irrespective of how alike the injuries suffered are – and each separate case should have its claim value assessed based on its own individual merits.
Calculating How Much a Personal Injury Claim is Worth
An injury compensation settlement in Ireland is composed of four main parts. Not all are applicable in every case, and there may be some personal injury claims which have extra factors to consider. Additionally, it may be some time before the full effects of each part is known – therefore delaying how long it may take to figure out how much a personal injury claim is worth.
The four main parts are:-
General Compensation for Pain and Suffering
How much compensation for the injury you suffer is calculated according to the Book of Quantum – a publication which provides a range of monetary values for personal injuries depending on the extent of the injury, the duration of time it may take for you to recuperate from your injury and whether or not it will remain a constant condition.
The value of the claim assessed by referring to the Book of Quantum is then adjusted by considering your age, your state of physical health prior to the accident in which you were injured and – in certain cases – your gender. If, for example, an older male and a younger female were both to suffer similar eye injuries which left both with visible scar, the younger female would receive a higher settlement of compensation to reflect the longer period of time she would have to live with the scar, plus a premium for her gender as the law accepts that women put greater importance on their physical appearances than men.
What About General Damages for Psychological Trauma?
Trauma experts have recognised that every accident leads to some level of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and you may be able to account for the element of emotional trauma you experience in a personal injury claim for compensation if the injury you have suffered can be measured. In some cases, it is not necessary for you to have suffered a physical injury in order to be eligible for compensation for a psychological injury.
If you suffer from anxiety or depression, or if you suffer a lack of confidence in the future due to the nature of your accident, general damages for psychological trauma may also be awarded. To establish that you qualify for general damages for a psychological trauma, you may be asked to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and, as this type of injury is typically the longest to develop, it could be a while until your full entitlement to compensation for a psychological injury is established.
Loss of Amenity and General Damages
When your value of a personal injury claim is assessed, it is not only the injuries you have suffered which are taken into account, but also the consequences of your injuries. Therefore, if you are unable to carry out everyday tasks due to your immobility or incapacity caused by your injury, you are entitled to include your “loss of amenity” in calculations to establish how much your personal injury claim is worth.
Your loss of amenity can reach to the inability to participate in social or leisure pursuits that would have been part of your normal routine prior to your accident and injury occurring, and a solicitor would tell you to maintain a diary to note the times that your injury stops you from participating in such events. There is no “Book of Quantum” or guidelines for how much compensation for loss of amenity you may be allowed to include in your personal injury compensation claim, and the element of general damages for your loss of amenity will be established by considering previous awards in similar scenarios in relation to your own individual lifestyle.
Special Damages for Financial Expenses
How much a personal injury claim is worth can be majorly influenced by the expenses that have been incurred – or may be incurred in the future. The element of special damages allows you to recover any costs or loss of earnings which are directly attributable to the negligence of the individual(s) who caused your injury so that you are in no worse a financial position than you would have been if your accident had never happened.
Special damages can take into account everything from paying for medicines and using different forms of public transport if you are not able to drive, to making alterations to your home if your accident has left you in need of a wheelchair or replacing a lifetime of potential income if a child has sustained a catastrophic injury which will stop them from ever being able to hold down a job. As long as records like receipts, invoices and other credible financial documents can be shown to account for an expense – past, present or future – you will be entitled to include that cost in your application for special damages for financial expenses.
Other Factors to Take into Account in Compensation Settlements in Ireland
As previously stated, how much a personal injury claim is worth depends completely on the particular factors in each case and, if you have in some way contributed to the cause of your accident or the severity of your injuries, your compensation settlement could be lessened to reflect your own negligence. Although many potential plaintiffs will know that the element of contributory negligence will apply to any time an injury is suffered in a car accident when not wearing a seat belt, few will know that the failure to seek immediate professional medical attention can also play a part in how much a personal injury claim is worth.
The value of a personal injury claim can also be affected by personal contributory negligence if you fail to communicate to your GP the symptoms you are experiencing – particularly in compensation claims when an illness has been misdiagnosed – or if you inadvertently agree to an inadequate offer of compensation from the negligent party´s insurance providers without first having an assessment of the value of your personal injury claim performed by an experienced personal injury solicitor. If a compensation settlement from an insurance company turns out to be insufficient to cover your medical costs or support your family, you cannot return to the insurance company and ask for more money.
Due to this, it is ALWAYS in your best interests to have the monetary values for personal injuries explained to you by an experienced legal professional at the earliest possible occasion, even if a final figure cannot be calculated to advise you how much your claim is worth at this time.
The value of a personal injury claim for accident compensation is determined by a number of variable factors
Special damages for additional expenses can be taken into account when having a claim value assessed
Any negligent actions attributable to you will also affect the monetary values of your personal injuries
Examples of negligent actions include agreeing to an inappropriate offer of settlement without first obtaining a professional legal opinion
No two separate claims for injury compensation are identical and you should always speak about the value of a personal injury claim with a solicitor
It is important for you to note that each case is treated on its own merits. If you believe that you have a valid personal injury claim, you are advised to talk about all of the points raised in the above article with a solicitor as soon as you can.