What can I claim for when making an injury compensation claim?

Updated: October 5, 2020

If you have been injured in a work accident that was not your fault, you may decide to claim financial compensation for the injury and any costs or losses you have incurred. But what exactly can you claim for?

Two types of compensation

Personal injury compensation is awarded to put an injured person back in the position they would have been had the accident not happened. Of course, financial compensation can never really make up for the pain and distress experienced by an individual and their family.

Compensation is broken down into two distinct parts; ‘General Damages’ and ‘Special Damages’:

General damages

General damages is the legal term for the financial compensation payable for any ‘pain, suffering and loss of amenity’ (PSLA) resulting from an accident.

General damages are payable for a physical illness or injury, as well as any psychological injury.

General damages awards will also take into account any physical impairment, loss of mobility and physical disfigurements such as scarring

If you have suffered a reduction in your quality of life, including your social life, family life and your ability to pursue your hobbies, your general damages award should reflect this.

When calculating general damages, solicitors, insurance companies and the courts will all refer to the Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases.

To calculate the amount of general damages you could receive, see our injury compensation calculator.

Special damages

'Special damages' is the legal term for any financial compensation paid for any costs or losses (including anticipated future losses) you incurred as a result of your accident.

Special damages claims can include:

Loss of earnings

If you have taken time off work as a result of your injury, you can claim for any consequent loss of earnings. This can include loss of salary, commission, bonuses, overtime and pension payments.

If the injury resulted in you losing out on a promotion, this can also be factored into your claim.

Special damages will take into consideration projected future loss of earnings if it is anticipated that you will be unable to work moving forwards.

It may also be that you are unable to continue with your previous job and you have to accept a lower-paying job. It would be possible to claim for the future incremental loss of earnings as well as the ‘loss of enjoyment’ suffered as you are unable to continue in your chosen career.

If a friend or family member has taken time off work to help you then you may be able to claim for their loss of earnings.

Care and assistance

Special damages will cover the cost of any care or assistance, even if it was provided at no cost by a family member or friend.

This can include anything from assistance around the house to permanent full-time nursing care.

Medical treatment

If you require any private healthcare treatment or procedures, these can be claimed for. This can include treatments like physiotherapy, chiropracty and osteopathy.

Home and car modifications

If your home needs to be adapted, you can claim for the cost of the modifications. Typical modifications could include installing ramps, widening doorways, lowering kitchen units or modifying a primary bathroom.

Similarly, vehicle adaptations such as hand controls and stowage systems can be included.

Travel and accommodation

If you or your family have had to travel to appointments, medical examinations, solicitor appointments and so on, you can claim for these. Hotel accommodation can also be included.

Damage to property

If your car, bike or any other personal property was damaged, you can claim for these. Personal belongings damaged as a result of the accident such as laptops, mobile phones and clothing can be claimed for.

Other losses

Anything else where a loss can be quantified financially can be included in a special damages claim.

For example, if you were unable to go on holiday due to an injury, you could claim for the cost of the holiday.

Find out how much you can claim:

How long will it take to receive my compensation?

In most cases, compensation is paid as an out of court settlement by the defendant’s insurance company. In the case of a work injury claim, if your employer and their insurer accept liability early on in the process, compensation can be paid out in a few months. However, if the case is complex or disputed by the defendant, cases can run on for much longer.

If you have an immediate need for compensation, perhaps to pay for an urgent medical procedure, it may be possible to secure an interim payment.

Find out more: Can I get an interim payment with a work injury claim?

How do I prove my losses?

Special damages will only be paid when there is evidence of the loss or expenditure. You should keep receipts and invoices for any expenditure, as these will be used to compile a ‘Schedule of Special Damages’.

Have you been injured at work?

If you have been injured at work in the last 3 years, you may be able to claim financial compensation.

Find out more about making a work accident claim:

  • Do you qualify?
  • How much compensation could you get?
  • How does No Win, No Fee work?
Work accident claim guide