A Guide to Medical Negligence Compensation: what could your claim cover?
For people who have been affected by medical negligence, their primary concern is not always compensation. Many are seeking answers, an apology, or assurance that other people won’t have to go through what they did. However, some clients do enquire at the outset as to how much their claim may be worth.
Claimants may be entitled to two types of medical negligence compensation (or damages): general and special.
General Damages compensate for your pain and suffering. They are fixed by the judge on a tariff basis and calculated from the Judicial College Guidelines by comparable injuries to ensure consistency. The amount recovered will depend on the type and severity of injury, as well as long-term impact. For example, for orthopaedic injuries, compensation can vary from up to £2,900 if you recovered fully within three months, or £3,710 to £6,370 if you recovered fully within two years.
Assessments for general damages include (but are not limited to):
- pain and suffering that occurred as a direct result of the negligent act
- disability or disfigurement
- psychological damage (diagnosed by medical experts)
- lower quality of life post-incident
- loss of career or difficulty gaining employment due to injuries.
Special Damages are based on out-of-pocket expenses incurred since the incident, or those predicted in the future. In many medical negligence claims, special damages will comprise the most substantial monetary value. The more serious injuries, – those which result in life-long incapacities affecting work or care – will attract larger settlements. If you are fortunate to recover well from your initial injuries, your claim for special damages may be limited.
Some considerations for special damages are (but not limited to):
- loss of earnings – past and potential
- loss of pension if you’re unable to continue working
- payment for ongoing treatment/medication
- the cost of any extra care or assistance you may need
- medical equipment
- private medical care
- the cost of adapting your home or moving to more suitable premises
- travel expenses to and from hospital
- childcare costs
- funeral costs
- increased insurance
Special damages covers financial losses of both the past and future, and the largest part of the claim will generally be for expected costs of care and assistance, for example.
Your medical negligence claim at Medical Solicitors
As a whole, an estimate of the value of an injury can be usually be made if the extent of the injury is very clear. However, at Medical Solicitors, we generally wait to value the claim until we have an independent medical report on what the future holds for our client in terms of their injuries.
Judicial College Guidelines are a starting point and our team undertake a thorough search of similar reported cases to see what compensation was awarded for pain injury and suffering. In addition, we go through an evidence gathering process to prove all the special losses. Steps such as writing to clients’ employers for evidence of their earnings, or to benefits agencies, help with calculations.
Above all, the success of a claim is based on the success of the team bringing it. You need to work with the best solicitors, who will know the best team of experts and barristers. At Medical Solicitors, we are a specialist medical negligence law firm that truly cares about giving the best legal advice and the highest standards of client care possible. If you think you have a medical negligence claim and would like more advice, speak to our specialist team free of charge.
Call our Sheffield office on 0114 250 7100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.