When clients approach us to handle a personal injury claim, they often ask, “how much do you think it is worth?”. We wish it was as easy as providing a figure from the outset; it would make negotiations so much easier with our opponents!
Unfortunately, some claims companies try to lure people in with crude guesses and empty promises of thousands of pounds. However, in reality, there is no straight answer to the question, meaning we often have to resort to the stock response: “It depends”!
But what does it actually depend on? How is your compensation calculated?
The injury itself
We value claims by following a set of guidelines issued by the courts. These guidelines cover injuries to all parts of the body, of varying severity and duration. They then give an approximate range of values for each type of injury. In order to apply the guidelines, first we need to know exactly the type of injury sustained. This will include both physical and psychological damage. This is often an easy task, but in more serious cases can be much more complicated. Is it one single injury, or to multiple parts of the body? Is it an internal injury? Is it progressive or an impact injury?
How long the injury lasts
If someone has recovered quickly, the impact of the injury is not long-term and therefore the value of the claim is likely to be lower. If the injury is permanent, or will take a long time to recover, the value of the claim is likely to be much higher because the injured person suffers from pain for longer.
Has the injury required medical attention, either at hospital or the GP? Does it require further treatment, such as physiotherapy, surgery, counselling? The cost of any treatment will be factored into our valuation – and this can be a very high figure if surgery or specific care is required.
We always instruct an independent medical expert to assess the client and produce a report giving advice on all of the above. This then enables us to use the court guidelines to provide a client with an accurate valuation of the claim.
On top of the injury, we also need to know what other losses a client has suffered as a result of their accident. For instance:
Did you take any time off work? If so, did you get paid in full, or lose income?
Did you have to buy prescriptions or painkillers?
Did you receive care and assistance from family members, friends etc over and above any normal requirements?
Did you have to pay an insurance excess for your damaged vehicle?
Was any clothing or other personal possession damaged in the incident?
Will you be able to go back to work, or will you have to change jobs or even career if the injury is very bad?
From the above, you can see how difficult it can be to answer the question. Whilst we can offer an approximate figure based on our extensive personal injury experience, we would much rather investigate your question thoroughly and give you a considered, calculated answer so you can be sure you are getting the level of service you are entitled to expect.
If you would like to find out more about the level of damages to which you may be entitled, please contact our Personal Injury team on 01924 692125.