How much Compensation am I likely to receive?

If someone sustains an injury or a loss as a result of a breach of duty, that person, or ‘the Claimant’, ought to be compensated. In most cases, it would be by the way of financial compensation and the idea behind compensating the Claimant is to ensure that the Claimant, who has been injured or who has suffered, is put in the same or closest position as he would have been in, but for the alleged negligent treatment.

Of course, it can be very difficult because the Court has to ‘perform the difficult and artificial task of converting into monetary damages the physical injury and deprivation and pain, and to give judgement for what it considers to be a reasonable sum’ (Lord Pearce in H West & Son Ltd v Shephard [1964]).

In any personal injury claims, the Claimant is entitled to pursue a claim for compensation for their pain, suffering and loss of amenity and the level of compensation is determined by the medical evidence. This award is called General Damages.

In addition, a Claimant is entitled to pursue a claim for compensation for any financial losses incurred as a direct result of the negligent treatment such as loss of earnings or travel expenses, or even care and assistance. This award is called Special Damages and the amount awarded is dependant on the Claimant’s evidence of losses incurred.

It is inevitable that General Damages depend on medical evidence obtained in respect of the Claimant’s case (i.e. injuries, and losses suffered), and their condition and prognosis. In order to quantify the case, a solicitor will refer to previous case law as well as the Judicial College Guidelines. It is important to note that the General Damages, an award for the Claimant’s pain, suffering and loss of amenity, pays no attention at all to the wealth of the Claimant and the recent case of Attorney General of St Helena v AB & Ors (St Helena) [2020] clearly confirms this.

The case concerned an argument that the Claimant’s compensation for pain and suffering should be adjusted in proportion to the costs of the living in St Helena. It was successfully ruled that:

  • “differences in earnings were in principle irrelevant to compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. A poor person suffered from personal injuries no less, and no more, than a rich person”
  • “… it would be discriminatory to quantify their [Residents of St Helena] pain, suffering and loss of amenity damages on any different basis that was done in England and Wales”

In short, the value of a case depends on the particular circumstances involved. If you or someone you know, sustained an injury or loss as a result of an accident or clinical negligence, please contact us to discuss this further to ensure that you receive the right amount of compensation.

Paulina Norberczyk

Waldrons Solicitors

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