Arrange_top

Arrange a call back

Arrange_bottom

Title: $13 billion compensation

Date: 31 July 2014

$13bn in compensation?

Question

I have just seen a story about a woman getting $13bn in compensation in America. Is that right, and if so how on earth did she get so much? I have a friend who had a leg amputated and he only got just over £100k. Was his solicitor really bad or were hers ridiculously good?

Brummy Ben,

Answer

I think it’s safe to assume that given the level of the damages that they got for their client that her lawyers did a very good job. That said in the US civil law is dramatically different to ours because their courts allow punitive damages whereas the courts in the UK do not. The idea behind punitive damages is that when one party is negligent the purpose of the damages is to both compensate the Claimant but also to punish the Defendant. Because huge multi-nationals wouldn’t stop bad behaviour when faced with damages measured in thousands, the US courts often award damages hugely disproportionate to the injury suffered as a way of making the those big companies sit up and take notice.

The law here in the UK is different. The idea here is that the court will seek to put a claimant back in the position he or she would have been had the accident not occurred. This means working out all of your financial losses, past and future, and then the court also trying to compensate you for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. The key here is for your solicitor to understand exactly how to maximise your claim by looking at every possible loss and every avenue to reduce the effect of an ongoing injury and then seeking all of those costs from the Defendant. The difference between this being done well and not can have an enormous impact on the amount of damages that you get so good, specialist, advice is vital.

As far as your friend is concerned, that would seem to be a very low settlement based on the nature of his injury. Generally people who have suffered a lower limb amputation can be provided with a very effective range of prosthetics to minimise the effects of their injury however they can be extremely expensive, especially now that bio-mechanical limbs are a reality. Because of that, amputees often get awarded damages of many hundreds of thousands of pounds, if not more.

View All

Diesel Spill Accidents
Changing solicitors