Claiming for the Personal Injury
If you are bringing a claim for personal injuries, whether as a result of an accident at work, a road traffic crash or other, you will be claiming compensation for the injuries you have suffered.
This could be physical injuries (broken bones, soft tissue injuries, whiplash etc) or psychological injuries (trauma, PTSD, anxiety depression etc) or both.
This element of the claim is termed “pain suffering and loss of amenity”. The compensation is to reflect the pain you have suffered – whether that be over days, months or years, and how that pain has affected you on a day-to-day basis (at work, at home, with your friends and family).
It is important to keep a pain diary and record your pain regularly. Pain changes over time. It can be quite severe pain to begin with, becoming more less so over time. Do record any specific incidents (eg: having to miss a family birthday party, not being able to sit through a theatre or cinema performance, having to go home early from work because you are not feeling well).
Claiming for other losses from your injury
You may have had time off work as a result of your injury and have lost earnings, bonuses or commission. These can be claimed. If you are employed, then you will need wage slips for 6 months prior to the accident and wage slips after the accident to cover the period of loss. If you are self-employed then you will need your accounts (as submitted to HMRC for tax purposes) for at least 2 years prior to the accident and for the year of loss.
If you require treatment (physiotherapy, counselling) these can be claimed. You do not have to “wait” for treatment on the NHS. You are entitled to seek and claim for private treatment. If you can afford to pay for the treatment yourself then you can do so and claim the costs back. If liability is admitted in your claim, then the insurers should make you an interim payment to cover the cost of any treatment you require. If your Solicitor is using the services of a medical agency, then they can arrange the treatment on your behalf and defer payment of any costs for 18 months to 2 years.
Remember that you can also claim the cost of travel to and from each treatment session or consultation. You can claim actual travel costs (such as the bus or train fare) or if you or someone has driven you to your appointment, the mileage costs at 45p a mile. If you need someone to sit in any therapy sessions with you, you can claim for their time spent as well.
You will probably require help around the house (cooking meals, cleaning the home, washing clothes, ironing, going to the shops). This is a care and assistance claim. Initially, you may need a lot of help. Towards the end of your recovery, you may need less assistance. Keep a record of who has helped you do what (friends, family, neighbours). Specify what it is they have helped you with (eg: neighbour came to take my dog for a walk; friend came to mow the lawn; mother dropped by to collect my medication from the pharmacy). Make a note as to how long each task took. Even if you normally share household tasks with a partner or other household member, you can bring a claim if you are no longer able to do your part.
You can also claim for any personal care that you have received (eg: assistance helping you in and out of the bath; helping you dress, wash your hair etc).
Make a note of any prescription charges and over-counter medication you purchase. Not just pain medication but any creams or gels you purchase, bandages or dressings, hot water bottles etc.
Claiming for future costs following your personal injury
Whilst you may make a good recovery you may have symptoms that will continue on a permanent level. You may require assistance on an ongoing basis in terms of medication or painkillers, care and assistance, and the odd treatment from time to time (eg: a couple of sessions of physiotherapy or osteopathy treatment say every three months). These costs can be claimed for the foreseeable future. It may mean that you are no longer able to do the amount of overtime that you used to and your earnings for the long-term future will be affected.
These costs can all be claimed.
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