How much is my injury claim worth?

Fact: travelling by car is the most dangerous form of transport. We might not think it with the CD player on and the air conditioning making the car a comfortable temperature, but the reality is that more people are killed and injured on the road than any other form of transport.

Most car accidents result in just minor damage to the vehicles involved, but other more serious accidents can cause dreadful injuries such as head and spinal cord injury. When a car accident is caused by someone else, the person injured is legally entitled to make a compensation claim. But 'how much compensation?' is a question people always ask.

As no two claims are the same, the amount of personal injury compensation awarded does vary a lot. There are four types of compensation you can receive:

General damages
Covers compensation for the injury itself (including the pain and suffering). These are difficult to calculate exactly as an individual's injuries and recovery rate are unique.

Special damages
This comprises compensation for out of pocket expenses and losses (including loss of earnings and cost of medical treatment).

Future losses
This covers compensation for losses or costs that you are likely to encounter in the future (including loss of future earnings, treatment and care).

You may also be entitled to interest on your compensation (rates will depend on the type of injury and losses incurred).

Figures for all these types of compensation are based on the circumstances of the accident and injury. When setting a figure for general damages previous awards are taken into consideration, although again these figures can vary greatly (higher or lower) depending on the nature and length of recovery. As a rough guide these are figures that have been awarded, but will not necessarily be relevant to your particular case:

Figures for general damages only (i.e. the pain and suffering experienced). Compensation for other losses such as loss of earnings, may be paid in addition.

Whiplash injury  
Minor (recovery within 1 year) up to £2,000
Moderate (serious limitation of movement) up to £13,000
Severe (serious disability) up to £27,500
Hand injury  
Minor injury (e.g. damage to thumb) up to £2,000
Loss of function in wrist up to £31,000
Loss (or effective loss) of a hand up to £57,500
Shoulder injury  
Minor damage up to £4,250
Dislocation up to £10,000
Severe up to £25,000
Back injury  
Muscle damage up to £6,500
Moderate up to £14,500
Paralysis up to £87,500
Head injury  
Minor (no brain damage) up to £6,500
Moderate brain damage up to £115,000
Very severe up to £205,000
Spinal cord injury  
Paraplegia up to £145,000
Quadraplegia up to £205,000

Contributory negligence - how it affects compensation
The other party may attempt to reduce the amount of compensation by arguing that the injured person was in part responsible for the injuries - this is know as contributory negligence or split liability. For example, if a person is held to be 50% responsible for an accident then whatever they may have been entitled to is reduced by 50%. Examples of contributory negligence include not wearing seat belts, not wearing a motorbike helmet, eating whilst driving and playing loud music.

In summary, it is only once a claim has been fully assessed that a more realistic estimate can be made on how much compensation is likely to be awarded. If you are looking to make a compensation claim you should seek legal advice from an expert personal injury solicitor.



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*Where replacement vehicle costs can be recovered from the insurance company of the person who caused the accident. Where this person is untraceable or uninsured, or where there is a dispute over liability, a replacement vehicle cannot be provided.