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Title: Valuing multiple injuries - am I missing compensation?

Date: 04 August 2015

Question

I had an accident in September 2013 and have just had the final report from the orthopaedic surgeon instructed by my solicitors (the second report). He has now been able to give a prognosis for my fractures and other than scarring and some sensitivity in the cold I should be fine. I am back at work and he said my employment will not be affected.

I sustained several broken bones, psychological issues (resolved through helpful CBT arranged by my rehabilitation company paid for by the third party insurer), some scarring and soft tissue damage. My solicitor has explained that I receive compensation for the injuries but I don’t understand why I am not compensated for all of the injuries rather than just a general sum for all of them. Am I missing out on compensation – I don’t want to question my solicitors as they have done a great job.

Paul Henderson

Answer

Cases involving multiple injuries are more complicated to value that cases involving one injury. This is because the compensation an accident victim receives for injuries comprises of damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. The pain element is often shared across various injuries and not actually greater than the pain experienced form just one injury. Likewise the pain from one injury may be excruciating as opposed to moderate pain from another.

The loss of amenity could be very different. For example if you have one arm broken then you can still carry out many tasks. But if both arms are broken you will be unable to do anything and will be reliant on others. This will clearly add to the care claim also.

The key here is experience of valuing claims like this as such valuations are an art rather than a science and being able to justify the valuation to the court is essential. There was a case a couple of years ago where Claimant successfully appealed her award of compensation for multiple injuries from £32,000 to £40,000, an increase of 25%. This is rare as the courts are reluctant to interfere in awards of compensation for injuries and judges do have a fairly wide discretion but in this case the award by the lower court was obviously too low.

This illustrates the importance of obtaining expert legal and medical advice on the correct level of compensation.

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