What Are Special Damages In A Personal Injury Case?

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. Calculating General Damages For Your Injury
  7. Talk To Us About Whether You Could Claim Special Damages
  8. Learn More About Special Damages

What Are Special Damages?

If you make a successful personal injury claim you can be awarded two Heads of Loss. These are general and special damages. They make up your compensation amount. To be awarded special damages you must first be eligible for 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.

Calculating General Damages For Your Injury

In this section, we will be focusing on possible general damages compensation amounts. The table below shows bracket amounts for a variety of injuries. These figures are calculated from previous case studies and are taken from the Judicial College guidelines; a document legal professionals use to help value personal injuries.

InjurySeverityAmountNotes
Hand(a)£132,040 to £189,110Compensation 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
ShoulderSerious£11,980 to £18,020Compensation could be awarded for injuries such as a dislocation that causes pain in the shoulder, neck and elbow with a related weakness of grip.
PsychiatricModerate£5,500 to £17,900There will be clear improvements and any remaining symptoms will not be grossly disabling.
Facial DisfigurementLess Severe£16,860 to £45,440Compensation could be awarded here for scarring where the disfigurement causes a significant psychological reaction.
Impairment of Taste & Smell(b)£30,870 to £36,770Compensation could be awarded for a total loss of smell and a significant loss of taste.
Bladder(b)Up to £132,040Compensation could be awarded for total loss of control.
Asthma(a)£40,410 to £61,710Compensation could be awarded for severe and long-lasting asthma that is disabling and disturbs sleep. It could also affect physical activity and employment prospects.
Nose(i)£9,990 to £21,700Compensation could be awarded for multiple and serious fractures that require operation and result in nerve damage.
Paraplegia(b)205,580 to £266,740Compensation could be awarded for paralysis of the lower body. The extent of pain, the degree of independence and the life expectancy will also be considered.

It is important to note that these amounts are just examples. Each case is judged individually according to the circumstances.

Talk To Us About Whether You Could Claim Special Damages

If you’re looking to claim for a personal injury and you want to make a special damages claim because of financial loss, you may be concerned about funding the work of a solicitor. A No Win No Fee agreement could help you.

If a solicitor offers their services on a No Win No Fee basis, you are not required to pay them any ongoing or upfront fees. In fact, you don’t need to pay them for their work at all if your claim does not succeed.

On the other hand, your solicitor will deduct a success fee from your compensation amount if your claim does succeed. They will establish the percentage they will deduct before taking on your claim. This is also legally capped to avoid solicitors overcharging for their work. Your solicitor will only deduct this once your compensation is paid in full.

To find out more about how a No Win No Fee solicitor could benefit you, get in touch with our team of advisors today. They are available 24/7 to answer any questions and may even connect you with a solicitor from our panel who could help you claim special damages.

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.

Thank you for reading our guide on what special damages are.