What Are Special Damages In A Personal Injury Case?

By Danielle Newton. Last Updated 20th July 2023. Are you looking to make a personal injury claim? You may be wondering what you could claim for. In this article, we will explain what special damages are. We will also look at how you could claim them as part of your compensation.

special damages

Special Damages Guide

Being involved in an accident caused by another party that caused you harm could have an adverse effect on many different aspects of your life. Everyday activities could be disrupted, and you may even be unable to work. Personal injuries may also end up being expensive in some ways, leaving you under financial pressure. If this has happened to you, you could potentially claim compensation if you could prove another’s negligence caused the accident.

To find out more about special damages, read on. You can also get in touch with our team of expert advisors at any time for free legal advice. They may even pass you on to an experienced solicitor from our panel to start a personal injury claim today.

Select A Section

  1. What Are Special Damages?
  2. What Is The Difference Between Special And General Damages?
  3. When Could You Be Awarded Special Damages?
  4. Am I Owed Special Damages?
  5. How Do You Prove You Are Entitled To Claim Special Damages?
  6. Compensation For Damages
  7. Claiming Special Damages With A No Win No Fee Solicitor
  8. Learn More About Special Damages

What Are Special Damages?

If you make a successful personal injury claim you could be awarded under two heads of loss. These are known as general and special damages. They can potentially both make up your compensation amount. To be awarded any special damages, however, you must first be eligible for general damages.

Just to clarify, general damages is provided to compensate for pain and suffering you’ve experienced as a direct result of the incident which you are claiming for. You may be asking what the definition of special damages is and how it’s different to general damages.

Special damages are an element of compensation that you could claim for financial loss relating to your personal injury. As part of special damages, you may also be able to calculable potential future losses that may occur as well.

Special damages can sometimes cover any costs relating to your injury or fixing any problems it has caused. For example, if you sustained a crushed leg injury at work, you may need to pay for private healthcare not covered by the NHS or for independence supports such as crutches or a wheelchair. Another example might be if you were involved in a car accident and was not able to work because of your injury you could claim for the loss of your earnings.

Also, special damages can help with issues that do not affect you directly, for example, if you were a carer for a family member, and your injury left you unable to provide this service, you may need to pay for external carers. Or, you may need to put your children into a nursery or hire a child minder to help you look after them.

To claim special damages, you also need to prove that your financial loss directly resulted from your personal injury and in some cases your accident. For example, you could provide invoices or a bank statement to show lost wages.

What Is The Difference Between Special And General Damages? 

If you make a successful personal injury claim, you can claim for general damages and special damages.

General Damages

General damages is the element of your compensation that covers your injury and any lasting physical effects it may have caused.

To calculate how much general damages compensation you should be awarded, you will be invited to an independent medical appointment. A medical professional will assess the emotional effects of your injury, your levels of physical and mental pain, the impact the injury has had on your usual routine, and overall how your quality of life has been affected.

Special Damages

Special damages cover any financial loss that has resulted from the negligence. Some examples of what you could claim special damages for could be:

  • Medical expenses – short or long-term
  • Transportation costs
  • Loss of income or earning capacity
  • Replacement or repair of damaged property

Calculating special damages amounts is often much simpler than general damages, as it is based on actual expenses. It considers all expenses incurred out of your control as a result of the injury and those that may occur in the future.

When Could You Be Awarded Special Damages? 

To receive special damages you must have received general damages. In most cases, special damages are likely to be awarded alongside your general damages as a lump sum at the end of your case. However, you could potentially apply for interim payments if the other party has already accepted responsibility.

You could be unable to wait until your claim ends to receive your compensation. Your injury may have left you at an immediate financial loss, or unable to pay monthly expenses such as bills or mortgage payments. Your solicitor could help you apply for interim payments. This means that you would receive some of your compensation in smaller amounts before your final settlement, just to cover any immediate costs.

It is also important to note that you have a duty to minimise your losses. The court will take this into account when assessing your claim. For example, if the NHS offered you a free medical procedure, but you decided to go to an expensive private healthcare provider, you may struggle to claim for this.

Am I Owed Special Damages?

If your personal injury case is successful, because you proved that a third party who owed you duty of care was negligent and this resulted in you suffering an injury or illness, then as part of your settlement special damages can be claimed for.

Calculating how much you may be owed in special damages is inclined to be easier as long as you have kept records of your expenses. Although you can calculate this on your own, we recommend hiring an accident solicitor. They can provide the experience to pull together all your evidence and provide you with an estimated sum you could be awarded.

For example, if you are trying to claim back a loss of earnings, your solicitor can help you by looking at payslips from before and after your accident and calculating how much you could claim back that way.

Each case is different, so even if you look at previous case studies, just know you might not be awarded the exact same compensation amounts for similar expenses. Want to know more about how much you could claim in special damages? Why not get in touch with our team today?

How Do You Prove You Are Entitled To Claim Special Damages?

If you’re concerned you’ve been harmed in an accident, we recommend that you first seek medical help. You could seek the advice of your GP or another medical professional, ring 999, 111, or even seek your nearest emergency room.

Before starting your claim, you can start gathering evidence to support your case. You can do this without a solicitor, but we recommend that you hire one. They can help you figure out what evidence types will work to give your case the best chance for success. Desirable evidence types could include:

  • Medical report records
  • Accident report records
  • CCTV footage
  • Photographs
  • Witness contact details (so a statement can later be taken)

As previously mentioned, you will be obligated to attend an independent medical appointment as part of the claims process. A medical professional will assess your injuries to see how much they affect you and how they may continue to affect you in the future. This will likely be used as key evidence for valuing your injuries and, therefore, the general damages element of your claim.

Compensation For Damages

Following a successful claim, your personal injury settlement could include general damages and special damages.

As we previously stated, general damages compensate you for the pain and suffering your injury has caused you.

When valuing your claim, a legal professional may refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This is a document that provides a list of guideline compensation brackets for various types of injuries at different severities.

In our table below, we’ve listed some of the figures stated in the 16th edition of the JCG.

However, you should remember that compensation is awarded on a case-by-case basis, and the factors of your claim could affect the amount you receive.

Please only use it as a guide.

Injury Severity Notes Amount
Injuries Involving Paralysis Paraplegia How much is awarded will be affected by the extent and presence of pain, depression and life expectancy. £219,070 to £284,260
Hand Injuries Total or Effective Loss of Both Hands Compensation could be awarded here for the total or effective loss of both hands. The top of the bracket will be awarded when no prosthesis can be used effectively. £140,660 to £201,490
Asthma (a) Severe and long-lasting asthma that is disabling and disturbs sleep. It could also affect physical activity and employment prospects. £43,060 to £65,740
Leg Injuries Serious (iii) Serious comminuted or compound fractures or injuries to the ligaments or joints. This will require lengthy treatment. £39,200 to £54,830
Facial Disfigurement Less Severe Scarring Scarring where the disfigurement causes a significant psychological reaction, but the effects have been reduced by plastic surgery. £17,960 to £48,420
Back Injuries Moderate (i) A crush or compression fracture of the lumbar vertebrae. This will cause constant pain. £27,760 to £38,780
Ankle Injuries Moderate Ligamentous tears or fractures to the ankle. This will make it difficult to walk or stand for long periods. £13,740 to £26,590
Skeletal Injuries Fractures of Nose or Nasal Complex (i) Multiple fractures of a serious nature that make breathing difficult and require operations. £10,640 to £23,130
Shoulder Injuries Serious Dislocation of the shoulder that leads to pain in the shoulder, neck and elbow plus a related weakness of grip. £12,770 to £19,200
Psychiatric Damage Generally Moderate There will be clear improvements and any with a good prognosis. £5,860 to £19,070

Call our advisors today to discuss your potential claim and receive free advice. They may also connect you to one of the No Win No Fee solicitors on our panel who could help you with your case.

Claiming Special Damages With A No Win No Fee Solicitor

If you are eligible to make a personal injury claim, you may wish to have the support of a solicitor for your case. One of the solicitors from our panel may offer to represent you under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This is a type of No Win No Fee arrangement.

If your personal injury solicitor provides their services under this type of agreement, you won’t be charged upfront for their work on your case. There won’t be ongoing service fees either. Furthermore, you won’t be charged for their services if you are not awarded compensation following an unsuccessful claim.

However, if your claim outcome is successful, your solicitor will take a success fee out of your compensation. The percentage that can be deducted as this fee is legally limited.

If you have any questions about special damages for a personal injury claim, please contact an advisor from our team. They can give you free advice about what you may be compensated for under special damages as well as what evidence you should submit with your claim. They could also inform you whether you may be eligible to work with one of the solicitors on our panel.

To speak to an advisor, you can:

Learn More About Special Damages

Thank you for reading our guide on what special damages are. We hope you found it helpful. To learn more, see below for relevant links.

Hand Injury Caused by Sawing Compensation Guide – A guide on how you could claim after sustaining a hand injury due to sawing.

Psychological Damage Personal Injury Claims – An article on claiming compensation for psychological damage.

Public Bus Accident Compensation Guide – Learn how to claim compensation after a public bus accident.

Statutory Sick Pay – The government page on how to claim SSP if you’ve had to take time off work.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents – A UK charity aiming to reduce the number of accidents using advice and guidance.

Personal Independence Payment – The government page on claiming PIP (previously known as disability living allowance) if you live with a disability.

If you would like to speak to an advisor about claiming under special damages, then you can get in touch with Public Interest Lawyers to learn more. Please use the contact details which are available within this guide.