Every claimant’s circumstances are different, depending on the type of injury sustained and how the injury may have affected his or her life. The law seeks to compensate based on the severity and impact of the injury. The amount claimed must relate to the harm caused directly by the negligence.
There are two main types of “damages” that you are entitled to claim as part of your clinical negligence compensation.
The court can award money for expenses you have already incurred as a direct result of the negligence (referred to as “past losses”). For example, the travel costs in attending hospital to treat injuries, or the costs of employing a carer.
The court can also assess costs you may have to incur in the future, for example for equipment, carers or therapies to help you cope. The courts also seek to address whether the harm caused will result in other future loss to you. For example, if you are now unable to work due to the injury, you may be awarded compensation for loss of earnings which you would otherwise have earned at work. These past and future expenses incurred are called “Special Damages”.
Compensation is also awarded for the injury itself and the pain and suffering caused. It is difficult to quantify how much injuries are worth financially. There is guidance, however, on the ‘value’ of particular injuries detailed in the Judicial College Guidelines. Courts will consider this guidance together with previous cases concerning similar injuries to evaluate compensation to be awarded in each case. This compensation for pain and suffering is termed “General Damages.”
In respect of past losses and general damages, the courts may also award interest based on the fact that money lost could have been put to other uses or saved during the period between incurring the expense and the date compensation is awarded.