How is the value of compensation in a personal injury case determined?
Eoin P. Campbell
Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor
Editor in Chief

Question:

How is the value of compensation in a personal injury case determined?

Answer:

There are two elements which go towards making the total amount of compensation awarded in a personal injury case – General Damages and Special Damages.

General Damages are awarded in respect of the physical injury you sustained. The Injuries Board Ireland, when assessing a claim in a personal injury case, will refer to the Book of Quantum – a publication which lists various physical ailments and gives them a financial value according to the severity of the injury and the length of time an accident victim may take to recover.

Special Damages are awarded for out-of-pocket expenses, loss of earnings and non-anatomical injury – such as post traumatic stress disorder. There are no guidelines for awarding special damages for out of pocket expenses, although usually the Injuries Board Ireland will request that you submit receipts for costs when claiming compensation in a personal injury case.

It can be difficult to prove future loss of earnings in a personal injury case when you have suffered a serious injury which will keep you away from your job for a long period of time or which may prevent you from getting a valuable promotion. Salesmen´s income, where pay is based on sales commission, is a perfect example of why the system is not perfect.

Claiming for psychological injury in a personal injury case is also complicated, and requires a medical examination to compare your current mental state of health to how it was prior to an accident. Again, the severity of the psychological injury, together with the period of time it may take for you to recover from it will determine the value of any compensation awarded in a personal injury case.

As there are so many variables within the Special Damages element of a personal injury case, it is always in your best interests to consult with an experienced solicitor whenever you have sustained an injury in an accident for which you were not to blame. By speaking with a solicitor, you will be able to determine what Special Damages you are entitled to and calculate the value of your personal injury case.