Proving Your Losses After An Accident
If you are claiming for any losses following an accident, you must prove your losses.
A list of the most common losses claims after an accident are as follows:
1. Travel expenses
This could be petrol expenses, public transport, or taxi fares. You will be required to prove these expenses and so must keep receipts / tickets. As a result of the accident, if you are required to make a journey, even by car, which you would not have made if the accident had not have happened then you can claim the cost of that Journey. If you do travel by car then keep a note of the distance and the date and we can claim a mileage rate for each journey.
2. Property and clothing claims
If you damaged any property or clothes in the accident then you can claim for these items. However, you are be required to have evidence that they were damaged (such as providing the damaged item, or evidence the item was damaged such as the A&E report confirming your clothes were cut off at the Hospital).You will also be required to have evidence of the cost of repairing or replacing the item. If you still have the receipt then a copy should be sent to us as a matter of urgency. If you no longer have the receipt then we would ask that you obtain an estimate, catalogue printout, or internet printout showing the item and the cost of a replacement. If you cannot find the exact same item then we ask that you provide details of three close alternatives. You should make a list of all items damaged in the accident and provide this to us from the outset. If you still have the items then we would recommend that you keep hold of these items until you have received payment for them.
3. Loss of earnings
If you had to take time off work because of your accident and injuries sustained in the accident then this may have resulted in a loss of earnings /overtime / bonuses. Sometimes even if your employer has paid you for any time off, you may have a clause in your contract of employment which means that you must repay them the sick pay if you make a claim for personal injury. This will be included in your claim under the loss of earnings bracket so it is important that you check this. If you are self-employed then we would need look at your profit and loss accounts for the 2-3 years prior to the accident. Any period of sickness as a result of the accident must be deemed reasonable by the medical expert.
4. Medical expenses
You may incur medical expenses following an accident such as Physiotherapy charges or chiropractic treatment charges. In order to claim these expenses back we require these charges to be proven by receipts. If the cost is covered by private healthcare insurance then your contract of medical insurance may oblige you to include these in your claim. Any treatments must be deemed reasonable by the medical expert.
5. Personal care costs
Sometimes your injuries prevent you from performing tasks that you would normally do around the home. These can be as personal as washing / dressing yourself, through to housework, DIY, decorating, gardening and so on. If you have to get someone to help you with those tasks, even though it may be family or friends at no charge to yourself, you may be able to claim the value of the care they have provided. If you have to pay for your help then you may be able to claim the cost. Evidence would take the form of receipts where available, an opinion from the medical expert as to the reasonableness of the care / assistance you required, and witness statements from you and your helper(s). As long as you tell us about your possible care claim, we can try and obtain the evidence for you.
6. Serious injuries and special equipment
Sometimes more serious injuries require the purchase of special equipment such as adapted vehicles, wheelchairs, bed hoists, bath aids and ramping. This can also lead on to making adaptations to your home to help you cope with your injuries. In such cases we would obtain expert evidence detailing all your equipment needs, the cost and the need for future maintenance / replacement of such items so that these can be included in your claim.
7. Hobbies, pastimes, holidays and loss of quality of life
Injuries affect different people in different ways. If your injuries have had a particular consequence for you, say the loss of a pre-booked holiday, an inability to participate in a much loved hobby or pastime, then it is important you tell us about this so that we can deal with it in your statement and try and ensure that your compensation takes this into account. It can be hard to put a figure on such damages but on other occasions, it is easier, say where a holiday is cancelled and you cannot recover all of the cost, or where club membership fees have been lost or wasted.
8. Social security benefits
Sometimes your injuries will lead to you being paid state benefits, anything from statutory sick pay to income support, job seekers allowance, and various invalidity / incapacity / disability benefits. These can affect your claim in a number of ways. Firstly at the end of the case, when you receive damages, you may find that the amount of compensation affects your eligibility for any benefits which are means tested, in other words which are only payable where your income or savings/capital are below certain levels. As long as you have told us exactly which benefits you receive, before your damages are paid, we will be able to advise you on ways of ensuring that you receive your damages without affecting your benefits.
Secondly, in certain circumstances your benefits may have to be deducted from your compensation so that you are not paid twice. For example let us pretend that a Claimant loses their job because of their injuries. Before the accident they were earning £400 a week take home. After the accident they receive £50 per week income support. At the end of the case their compensation includes 50 weeks at £400 per week for lost earnings, so £20,000. However during that 50 weeks they would have received income support which, at £50 per week, amounts to £2,500. Their income support will be deducted from the compensation for lost earnings so that they are, effectively, not being paid that £2,500 twice. In other words at the end of the case they get lost earnings compensation at £17,500. We have set out below a list of benefits which can be recouped in this way.
- Benefits which can be recovered from compensation for care include Attendance Allowance and the care component of Disability Living Allowance.
- Benefits which may be recouped from compensation from lost earnings include Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Disability Working Allowance, Disablement Pension, Invalidity Pension, Invalidity Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Reduced Earnings Allowance, Severe Disablement Allowance.
- Benefits which can be recovered from compensation for loss of mobility, in particular travel expenses include Mobility Allowance and the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance.
9. Handicap on the labour market
Serious injuries can affect your on-going employability, even in cases where you remain in work following the accident. Your injuries may prevent you from carrying out certain tasks so there may be certain jobs which you could not apply for or undertake following your accident. It may take you longer to find work, putting you at a disadvantage on the labour market. If this is the case then you may be entitled to compensation for that loss and in appropriate cases we would seek the medical experts opinion on that point and, if favourable, seek compensation for you.
10. Past losses against future losses
Your financial losses can fall into two groups.
- losses which you have sustained as a result of the accident. You should have receipts, pay slips and other evidence to prove them.
- losses which, although caused by the accident, have not been incurred at the time of the settlement. So future losses. You may still be out of work at the date your claim is concluded and it is predicted that you will remain out of work for a period of time afterwards. You may be having treatment which is predicted to continue into the future.
We will ensure that we have evidence in support of such future losses, usually the opinion of an appropriate expert as to how long the losses will continue for and their reasonableness, so that these can be included in your compensation. A future loss continues over several years. It is likely that you will have to allow a discount to reflect the fact that the insurers are paying you a lump sum up front, which you can then invest.