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Claiming for special damages

As well as being physically painful, suffering an injury can also be expensive. Lost earnings, medical expenses and other day-to-day costs during your recovery can build up to put you under financial pressure. Special damages are the part of your compensation that covers these out-of-pocket expenses so that you can focus on your recovery without having to worry about money.

When negotiating on your behalf, our specialist solicitors will work hard to make sure you receive compensation to cover the costs caused by your injury. All of our solicitors work on a no win no fee basis - which means you don't have to pay anything if your case is not successful. Your solicitor may need to arrange insurance for you to ensure claiming is risk-free.

If you're interested in making a special or general damages personal injury claim or would like to find out more, you can get in touch for free on . Or fill out the secure online form to arrange a call back from our friendly, legally-trained advisors who are available 7 days a week, until late.

You might be wondering what the difference is when it comes to general damages v special damages. While special damages aim to cover your out-of-pocket expenses, general damages cover the impact your accident has had on your life and the physical pain and suffering it's caused you.

Some examples of general damages are:

  • The pain your injury has caused
  • The emotional effects
  • Mental pain and anguish
  • The impact on your social life, family life and hobbies
  • Lower quality of life

Special damages examples may include:

  • Your lost earnings and any impact your injury is likely to have on your future salary
  • Any medical treatment, medication or care you've had to pay for
  • The cost of making modifications to your home or car to meet your needs
  • Travel or accommodation costs for you and your family, while they cared for you
  • Repair or replacement costs - such as repairs to a car or bike after a road traffic accident

Calculating the amount of compensation you could receive for special and general damages can be difficult - it's hard to put a figure on the pain and suffering you've experienced. But when your solicitor negotiates on your behalf, they look at the impact of your injury and the expenses you've incurred to try to secure the right amount of compensation.

Because every injury is different, we can't tell you exactly how much you can claim before you get in touch with us, but you can try our free compensation calculator to get an estimated figure.


When researching special damages cases and compensation, you may have seen it referred to in two parts: incidental and consequential expenses.

Incidental expenses are the immediate costs of your injury and fixing the problems it has caused. For example, in the case of a road traffic accident this could include your medical treatment any motor insurance policy excess you had to pay if your vehicle was damaged and repaired.

Consequential expenses, on the other hand, are the wider costs on your life and your family. This could include the cost of a child-minder to take care of your child while you're recovering, or accommodation costs for your family if they're visiting you in hospital.

When you speak to us, we'll consider all potential costs as a result of your injury and will work hard to recover the costs so you're not left out of pocket.

Interim compensation payments

In some cases, you or your loved one may have suffered an injury which has cost you a lot of money straight away or has left you unable to cover your monthly expenses. If this applies to you, you may not be able to wait until your claim is settled because you're unable to pay bills and daily costs in the meantime.

Our solicitors may be able to arrange for you to receive interim payments. Quite simply, this means you could receive some of your compensation in a number of smaller payments before your final settlement to cover the immediate costs.


When working on your compensation claim, your solicitor will need to prove that the costs were caused by your injury.

There are a couple of things you can do to help your solicitor. If possible, we recommend keeping receipts and records of anything you've needed to pay for. This could include any equipment you've needed to buy, any receipts for public transport (if you've been unable to drive) or any medication/prescription costs.


With most personal injury claims, you have three years after an accident (or when you originally noticed your condition, or it was first diagnosed) to start a claim. There are some exceptions to this. For example, accidents that have caused serious head or brain injuries leaving somebody unable to make legal decisions can have an extended period to start a claim.

The same is the case with children who have suffered an accident - they are able to make a claim up to three years after their 18th birthday.

There is an administrative process which our specialist solicitors must go through at the start of any claim so, if you're nearing the three-year deadline, then please get in touch as soon as possible so we can help you make it right.

Schedule of special damages

Your claim for Special Damages will be outlined by your solicitor in a document called a Schedule of Special Damages. Your solicitor will update this document as your claim progresses.


Why choose National Accident Helpline?

Our empathetic, legally-trained advisors are on-hand 7 days a week to help - they'll listen to what has happened and give you free, impartial advice on next steps. 

With more than 25 years' experience, we've helped more people injured in accidents than any other business of our kind and are proud to be the UK's leading provider of personal injury advice, services and support.


After suffering from an injury, it can be difficult to know where to turn. We can guide you through the first steps of making a compensation claim in a pressure-free environment, so you won't be bogged down by legal jargon.

We'll never rush you into making a claim - we're simply here to answer your questions and to help you understand what's involved with general and special damages claims.

If you do decide you'd like to go ahead, we can pass you on to one of our specialist personal injury solicitors. They'll also speak to you for free, and will be able to guide you through the next steps in starting your claim.

We understand how important it is to keep the claiming process as simple and stress-free as possible, so we monitor the standards of our specialist solicitors to make sure you're getting the best service.

You can speak to us online via our live chat or on for free advice to find out whether you could make a claim. Alternatively, fill in the form below and we'll call you back.