I was recently involved in an accident and am pursuing a personal injury compensation claim; I would like to know how much is my accident claim worth?
To answer the question “how much is my accident claim worth?” a number of elements must be considered. Each case is unique, even when injuries sustained are the same, and the value of your accident claim depends on your case’s individual merits.
Generally, a compensation claim in Ireland is comprised of four main elements, of which some or all may apply to an individual case, while additional elements are sometimes brought into consideration. Moreover, some time may pass before the entire extent of each element is identified, therefore suspending the length of time it may take to determine the value of a claim.
The first of the main elements is general damages for pain and suffering. The value of compensation for the physical injury you have suffered is calculated by measuring it against the Book of Quantum — a publication which lists a variety of injuries and provides an estimated value based on the severity of the injury, the victim’s recovery time and its permanence. Your particular claim value would then be adjusted to take your age, state of health before the accident and, in some cases, your sex into account.
The second element is general damages for psychological trauma. This category of injury generally takes the longest to manifest and therefore, a psychiatric evaluation may be required in order to clarify that you qualify for these damages. Subsequently, it may be some time before your full entitlement to compensation for psychological trauma is established.
Loss of amenity is the third main element that needs to be considered when answering the question “how much is my accident claim worth?” This category refers to the impact your injury may have had to your quality of life i.e. how it has prevented you from enjoying social of leisure activities or, if applicable, how you can no longer carryout everyday tasks. Compensation for loss of amenity is calculated by referencing previous awards in similar situations that reflect your own personal lifestyle.
The final element that you may be compensated for is special damages for financial expenses, which can account for any costs (medical treatment, for example) or loss of income which can be attributed directly to the person or entity which caused your injury. The final outcome of this category of compensation is to see you in no worse a financial situation that you would have been if your accident had never happened.
Other factors that may be taken into account include contributory negligence, i.e. where the potential plaintiff may have contributed to the cause or extent of their accident -by not wearing a seatbelt and then becoming involved in a car accident, for example – and if the victim accepts an unsolicited, early offer of compensation settlement from the negligent party’s insurance company. In either of these cases, the worth of your compensation claim may be significantly reduced.
Therefore, you would always be well advised to ask a solicitor “how much is my accident claim worth?” in person. A solicitor will be able to conduct a preliminary assessment of your claim and can advise you whether or not you have a viable case. The assistance of a solicitor is likely to enhance the likelihood of a successful personal injury claim.