What are special damages?
Special damages compensate you for any financial loss that your injury might have caused.
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. This might include:
- Your lost earnings and any impacts 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
What are the differences between special damages and general 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
- The impact on your social life, family life and hobbies
Calculating the amount of compensation you could receive for 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 the impact of your injury and the expenses you’ve covered 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.
Incidental and consequential expenses
When researching special damages 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 and damage to your car.
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.
How to prove the expenses caused by your injury
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.
What’s the time limit for claiming special damages?
With most personal injury claims, you have three years after an accident 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.
We’re here to help
If you’re looking for free, impartial advice on compensation, or would like to find out whether we think you can make a claim, you can speak to us on 0800 376 0150.
We’ll never rush or pressure you into making a claim – we’re simply here to answer your questions and to help you understand what’s involved in claiming.
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.