To calculate “how much is my claim worth?” there are four main elements to be considered, although they don’t all always apply to each individual case. The value of a claim relies completely on the individual elements in each case as no two claims for personal injury compensation are ever exactly the same.
General damages for pain and suffering is almost always the main component of a personal injury compensation claim. The Book of Quantum is used to calculate the amount of compensation that should be awarded; by consisting of lists of various injuries accompanied by a possible financial value. To calculate what the compensation for your individual case is worth, the value assessed by the Book of Quantum is adjusted to take your age, state of health prior to the accident and -in some cases – your sex, into account.
The next element that is considered is general damages for psychological trauma, where it should be noted that a physical injury does not need to have been suffered in order to be eligible for an emotional injury. There is no Book of Quantum to assess the compensation value of psychological damage and so it may be required that the potential plaintiff undergo a psychiatric evaluation to discover the value of this element of their compensation claim.
To fully answer the question “how much is my claim worth” it is important to understand the next element that is usually considered when calculating a personal injuries compensation claim. If your quality of life has suffered as a consequence of your injury, e.g. you cannot participate in a social or leisure activity you enjoyed prior to the accident or you are unable to perform everyday tasks, the overall worth of your claim may include general damages for loss of amenity. This element is calculated by referring to previous awards given in similar circumstances relating to your own personal lifestyle.
Special damages for financial expenses may also be brought into consideration when assessing your claim for compensation. If you have incurred any costs directly relating to your injury, ranging from medical expenses to the restructuring of your home, to loss of future earnings, the worth of your claim may include these special damages.
Some additional elements may also contribute to the value of your claim. If you are accused of contributory negligence and this is consequently proven, your claim’s worth could be reduced significantly. For example, if you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, which was not your fault; your overall award could decrease by up to 25 per cent, as the law states that all drivers and passengers must wear a seatbelt when travelling in a vehicle. You may also receive a decreased amount of what you may be justly eligible for if you accept an unsolicited offer from the negligent party’s insurance company via third party capture.
Therefore, to have the question “how much is my claim worth” expertly answered, it is in your best interest to contact a solicitor as soon as practically possible after an accident has occurred. In addition to advising you on whether or not you have a viable claim, he or she will be able to offer an initial assessment of your potential claim value.