When we get to the stage of valuing a medical negligence claim, there are two elements that we need to consider. The first one is known as general damages and this is the part of the compensation awarded for the injury that has been sustained as a result of the negligence. The second element is known as special damages and this takes account of any financial losses that have been incurred or will be incurred in the future, as a result of the negligence.
The special damages element of a compensation award is an important part of the damages. In some cases, particularly those involving serious injuries, the special damages can amount to much more than the general damages. It may be several years after the injury, when a settlement is achieved so we recommend that our clients keep a record of any financial losses they incur
This may include things such as; medication or prescription charges, the cost of equipment to help them get around e.g. crutches or a frame and travel costs to medical appointments including parking charges. Often our clients have to take time off work for treatment and will not get paid for this and the loss of earnings may also be recovered as part of the claim. We encourage our clients to keep receipts where possible and payslips to help support their claim.
One factor that can make up a significant part of the special damages claim is gratuitous care. This is care and assistance provided by family or friends for free. Whilst you have not paid for this assistance, the law allows you to recover an hourly rate on behalf of your family or friends. Tasks may include: help with personal hygiene such as washing or dressing, going grocery shopping, cooking meals, cleaning the home, helping with the washing, or helping with DIY. We recommend that our clients maintain a care diary detailing this information.
The more evidence we have in support of the special damages claim, the more likely our clients are to be awarded those elements. It is very important to keep a record wherever possible.