How To Calculate Compensation

Clarkson Hirst Solicitors Limited

Our APIL accredited personal injury solicitor Matthew Winder states: “As your solicitor my aim is to achieve for you the highest possible level of damages. I set out below general guidance on what you can claim for in a personal injury claim. You must understand though each claim is assessed on its own merit and professional advice should be sought as to the amount of your claim.”

Damages is a legal term which refers to the monetary compensation you receive for the losses you suffer as a result of the accident.

In personal injury claims many accident victims believe that compensation is not only recompense for the injuries suffered in the accident but also compensation for the stress and inconvenience arising from the litigation process.

When assessing compensation in most claims there are two elements that have to be considered.

General damages

This is a legal phrase to the compensation award for pain and suffering the Claimant has suffered as a result of the accident. The compensation for general damages differs from case to case depending on how severely you have been injured and for how long you suffer as a result of the injury.

The main heads of general damages are as follows;

  • Pain and suffering and loss of amenity (loss of enjoyment of life)
  • Handicap in the labour market referring to a situation where an injury weakens your competitive position in the open labour market.
  • Loss of congenial employment. Traditionally this is referred to for an element of loss of job satisfaction.
  • Future cost of care/future cost of specialist equipment. This is appropriate in serious cases where you suffer severe injuries which cause you to have to rely upon others for care and to have your home adapted to meet your needs brought about by disability occasioned by the injuries suffered in the accident.
  • Lost pension. This is where in more serious cases you do not return to work as a result of the accident or return to work on a lower wage and are unable to maintain the pension payments that you would have maintained had you not suffered the loss of earnings.
  • Loss of earnings. This is where the accident prevents you working in your chosen career or you have to get a less well paid job because you are not able to work in your chosen career. You can claim future loss of earnings and the calculation is based on the net annual earnings you would have been receiving at the date of the assessment of your compensation multiplied by the likely period of future loss. Specialist advice needs to be sought on this complex calculation.
  • Loss of use of motor vehicle. It is possible to claim an amount per day for the fact that you have lost the use of a motor vehicle as a result of a road traffic accident. For example if your vehicle is off the road for four weeks whilst being repaired and you do not replace the vehicle with say a hire vehicle you could claim compensation for the loss of use of the vehicle.

Special damages

Special damages is the legal term that refers to items of loss that can be specifically calculated and represent actual financial loss you have suffered from the date of the accident until the date your compensation is assessed by a Judge at an assessment hearing in Court.

The main items you can claim are as follows;

  • Loss of earnings to the date of assessment.
  • Medical expenses to the date of assessment
  • Costs of services provided by a third party such as care provided by your relative to the date of assessment
  • Expenses relating to the cost of living with disabilities prior to the assessment.
  • Damage to your property such as:
    • The cost of repairing your vehicle
    • Policy excesses
    • Hire car charges
    • Bus fares
    • Clothing
    • Taxi fares
    • Prescription charges
    • Recovery or service charges relating to the car
    • Damage to items in the car
    • The pre-accident value of the car
    • Loss of petrol if the car is written off


The purpose of the above is to provide you with general information and not specific legal advice. You should consult me for specific legal advice that can be tailored to your case and the actual losses you have suffered. However I hope the information will assist in drawing to your attention the types of claim that you could bring as a result of an accident. However you should take individual legal advice and not rely upon the advice given above in any Court case that you bring in your own right. I always offer a free initial consultation either by telephone or at the office to discuss any case and it would be wise to take legal advice before proceeding with a case especially through the Court.

Contact with insurance companies

I understand from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and my own experience that insurance companies for third parties will contact you direct to offer you compensation. This is often offered without you obtaining a medical report. The danger in accepting the insurers offer is that you will receive inadequate compensation. Compensation for personal injury can only be assessed after a medical report has been obtained from a specialist that sets out the extent of your injuries. The compensation you are entitled to reflects the extent of the injuries you have suffered. If you contact my office we can arrange to represent you and obtain for you the compensation you are actually entitled to. Therefore if you are contacted direct by an insurance company please do contact us to advise before accepting any offer.