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What can I claim for?

July 20th, 2011

Pain and suffering: You can claim compensation* for your physical injuries, including scarring or other disfigurement as well as psychological injury. Obviously, the amount that you receive in compensation will vary according to the severity of your injuries. To allow us to assess the value of your claim for pain and suffering we firstly obtain a full medical report, usually from a specialist, but in the case of minor injuries, from your GP. Factors which are taken into account in assessing the level of compensation* include:

■  The severity of your injury
■ The extent to which your injury has resulted in long-term or permanent disability
■ The extent to which your injury has disrupted your life
■ Damages for pain and suffering are calculated by reference to previously decided court cases.

Loss of earnings*: If you have to take time off work because of an accident, you will be able to recover any loss of earnings. Your claim is based upon the amount which you would have taken home rather than your gross earnings. You will not pay tax on your award of damages.

Normally your claim for loss of earnings is based upon your average take-home pay during the 3-month period before the accident. While we will obtain a schedule of earnings from your employer it can be helpful if you retain pay slips for the period before the accident and for the period of absence so that we can check these against the information provided by your employer.

Future loss of earnings*: You are under a general duty if you have been injured to minimise your losses. This means that if you are unable to return to your old job you have to take all reasonable steps to find a job which you are capable of doing. If you have to give up work because of the accident this may affect your future pension entitlement. Again we can take this into account and include any loss of pension rights in your claim.

Special Damage*: If you suffer damage to clothing or personal effects such as glasses, dentures or crash helmets you can claim for these. It is important that you retain the damaged items as the insurers may wish to inspect them. If you have the receipts for the damaged items or for replacement items you should retain these as well.

You can claim for expenses which you have incurred following an accident such as taxi fares or prescription charges provided that what you are claiming is reasonable. If you have to hire a car because your own is damaged it should be possible to claim the hire charges although you should discuss hiring a replacement vehicle with us before entering into a hire contract. Again you should keep receipts for any items of expenditure that you wish to claim.

In cases of serious injury you can claim the cost of items such as wheelchairs which you may need, as well as nursing and care costs.

If you have been looked after by a relative following an accident it may be possible to claim compensation for them for the services which have been provided to you. It is important that you should keep a diary or other written record of the services which have been provided as this will make it much easier to calculate the level of compensation.

If as a result of injuries which you have sustained you are unable to do any jobs around the house, or for your family, you may be able to claim compensation. Examples would be housework, gardening, car maintenance, DIY. If you have had to pay tradesmen to do jobs that you would previously have been able to do yourself, it is again very important that you keep receipts.