Types of Awards
The purpose of an award of damages is to put you back, so far as it is possible, in the position that you would have been in had the accident not happened. Whilst no amount of money will ever compensate for the injuries that our clients have sustained the most fundamental part of acting for our clients is ensuring that they have sufficient funds to meet their future therapy, care, accommodation and social activity costs for the rest of their life.
What an Award is Made Up Of
There are many types of loss which can be claimed for and they generally fall into three categories:
- costs incurred because of the injury;
- money that would have earned; and
- damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
- Costs incurred because of the injury
These include both past and future losses. This could include items such as medical treatment, early rehabilitation, and the costs of care and assistance on an ongoing basis. It could also include the purchase of an adapted vehicle, the adaptation of property and anticipated future therapy and treatment costs.
These are often a significant part of any claim and need to be investigated thoroughly with the right expert assistance to ensure that no unanticipated costs arise later that should have been claimed for.
- Lost earnings and earning potential
A lot of seriously injured people are able to return to work to some extent, but often not at the same level as previously. In the worst cases an injured person may not return to work at all.
This can be a considerable loss, especially where individuals were high earners, or on a career path towards high earnings. We will work expert forensic accountants to calculate lost earnings, pension loss and where applicable any investment losses.
- Damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity
These are often called “general damages” and are the best effort that the Courts can make when awarding a sum of money for the physical harm, disability and suffering that an injury causes.
These damages are assessed in accordance with guidance from the Judicial College and Judges’ own experience of the awards which are made.
When all of these are assessed the Court will need to work out the most just way of those damages being paid.
A Single Lump Sum
Traditionally damages were paid in a single lump sum. However, so as to avoid overcompensating, it was expected that the injured individual would invest the funds to generate a return to achieve the full amount needed to meet their needs. This sometimes meant that an individual could run out of funds if the investment return was poor or if the money was invested unwisely or overspent.
Periodical Payment Order
In many serious injury claims a lump sum payment alone is not appropriate. This is particularly so where there is uncertainty about an individual’s life expectancy. The Court may make an order for the sum to be paid in annual installments for the remainder of the individual’s life. This is usually applied to the care and loss of earnings elements of a claim.
Periodical payments are intended to provide the individual with certainty that their future needs will be met for their duration of their lifetime. Periodical payments are index-linked and so they increase in line with inflation. Further, if it is anticipated that the cost of your future needs will increase over time the periodical payments can be stepped so that they increase over time in accordance with your needs.
It is often the case that the Court will make order for an initial lump sum to be paid followed by a series of periodical payments.
All personal injury claims are pursued on a No Win No Fee basis so you can rest assured that there is no financial risk.