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Title: Should I get more compensation?

Date: 11 December 2013

Question

I had an accident 18 months ago and had to go to multiple appointments with doctors in relation to my injuries. My solicitor tells me that he expects me to receive just £20,000 for my injuries. How do I know this is the right compensation as this seems not a lot for what I’ve been through?

My injuries were a broken left wrist, a broken right wrist, a broken pelvis and a broken shin bone. All my injuries are now better with just minor lasting problems such as discomfort in the cold which I am feeling now the temperature has dropped.

Ben, Leicester

This is one of the most common questions I get asked – what’s my claim worth? Often I am asked way too early to give an accurate answer although I can go some way to answering yours with the caveat being I have not seen the medical evidence and am relying on your stated recovery and I don’t know when within the 2 year period you largely recovered.

The book many lawyers use as a starting point is called the Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages, currently in its 12th edition. The book considers the range of awards of compensation made by the courts of England and Wales for different categories of injuries with appropriate brackets of compensation depending upon the type of injury, its severity, the duration of symptoms and the effect on the injured person’s life.

The 12th edition of the guide was released very recently also has a section including a 10% uplift on awards for pain, suffering and loss of amenity to reflect government changes made earlier this year for accidents after 1 April 2013. As your accident was before then I have used the “old” rates.

Taking the wrists a figure of around £8,000 to £9,000 total would not be far off the mark. For the pelvis about £6,000 if there has been a full recovery. Your leg fracture is not likely to be worth more than £6,000 on its own. Taking into consideration all of your injuries and the fact that there is a degree of overlap in compensating the discrete injuries a figure of £20,000 seems to be a reasonable sum assuming a complete recovery with no ongoing problems or complications expected in later life such as an increased risk of arthritis. For a more accurate valuation I would need sight of the medical reports.

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