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What Injuries Can I Claim for?

There are a lot of misconceptions about what you can and can't claim for when you have suffered an injury, and just how much you should expect to receive in compensation for your accident. 

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We cover the basics here, so you will know what your solicitor is talking about, and try and give you some examples of the range of damages that certain injuries attract.

General & special damages for personal injury

You are entitled to be compensated for all the losses that you have suffered as a result of an accident, which may include:

  • damage to your clothing and property
  • loss of earnings
  • any insurance excess you may have.

In addition you should be compensated for the pain and suffering that you have gone through as a result of the accident and the consequent injury. Finally you can also claim for any future losses you may suffer, of example an inability to work, loss of promotion prospects, and perhaps an inability to take part in certain sports or hobbies.

Lawyers like to split the amount of compensation you should receive (damages) into two separate categories called general and special damages. Basically special damages are all those which are easily quantifiable – loss of earnings, medical expenses, taxi fares, ruined clothes etc. Try and make sure you keep a record of any additional expenses that you incur (including receipts if you can), as this will ensure you do not forget any and that your solicitor can claim them back on your behalf.

General damages are the more difficult as these have to be “assessed” i.e. some monetary value has to be placed on the pain and suffering that you have gone through, your possible future loss of earnings and how the injury may affect your general lifestyle in the future.

It is an imprecise art, which depends a lot on you as an individual, your circumstances and how you recover from the injuries you have. In order to get some guidance, lawyers (including judges) look at past cases (precedents) which are similar (no two cases are ever the same!), and the level of general damages awarded and use these as a guideline (having increased the figures to allow for inflation). A simple whiplash injury for example which causes you pain and inconvenience for say 3/4 weeks might be worth anything from £1,000 – £3,000 in general damages.

In addition the Judicial Studies Board, which provides training and instruction for all judges in England & Wales periodically issues guidelines for the assessment of General Damages in personal injury cases. Below are some typical compensation amount for various injuries to different parts of the body.

Remember these are only guidelines. If you do want to do some research yourself you will usually find a copy of Kemp & Kemp – Quantum of Damages in your local reference library (three large yellow tomes), which give cases and injury details in various sections.

Type of Injury Compensation Amount
Minor injury – muscle damage, and fractures that heal rapidly and leave behind no complications maximum of £4,200
Fracture with future problems – lengthy recovery periods and other complications that may arise from the fracture £4,200 to £12,300
Injury with disability – an injury that heals, but not quite to the level of ability that it used to have £12,300 to £2,500
Serious arm injury – any type of serious injury, for example multiple broken bones that heal incorrectly, that does not return to its past self may be a disabling influence on you £82,000
Amputation – if your injury is so severe, or if you have an accident, which ends in your arm being shorn clean from your torso, then you have scaled the upper reaches of arm injury compensation possibilities. As an imperfect replacement for your arm you could claim a sum between these two indicators. £62,000 to £192,000
Least injurious back damage – for injuries that have lasted more than a few weeks, but have healed thereafter £1,000 to £5,000
Minor injury – incapacities lasting 2 to 5 years, strains or such things as a prolapsed disc that didn’t need surgery £5,000 to £8,000
Serious injury – prolapsed discs that did need surgery to remove some spinal vertebrate, or crush fractures, spinal fusion and premature aging of the spine £8,000 to £25,000
Critical back injury – this is the figure for the worst type of back injury. Paralysis, sexual difficulties and organ damage are the most critical injuries. £25,000 to £110,000
Broken Collar Bone
Simple fracture – no further complications, and healing was as expected and returned you to normal £2,000 to £3,500
Fracture with complications – the fracture did not heal as expected and you were subjected to further pain £3,250 to £8,000
Broken Nose
Simple fracture – no displacement, and effective healing £1,000 to £1,600
Displaced fracture – manipulation was required to reposition the nose after the break £1,600 to £2,000
Fracture requiring surgery – if surgery is required to reconnect the nasal bones, and a small loss of smell or facial disfigurement results £2,500 to £15,000
Complete loss of smell – for the subsequent absence of one of your senses you could expect such a figure in monetary compensation. £16,000 to £21,000
Back teeth injury £700 to £1,150
Front teeth injury – because of possible corruption of aesthetic appearance due to the prominence of front teeth, you should expect a higher payout than for back teeth £1,400 to £2,500
Fractured jaw £4,000 to £29,000
Minor injuries – symptoms that resolve within a few years £8,000
Surgery and further complications maximum of £15,000
Permanent disabling of elbow £35,000
Minor injuries – no permanent damage, with a few weeks of disruption £1,300 to £2,500
Moderate injuries – chemical or trauma injuries that prove to have no lasting damage, but nevertheless have painful symptoms £2,500 to £5,500
Damage to the vision – when vision is affected, though not necessarily permanently £5,500 to £25,000
Blindness in one eye maximum of £35,000
Blindness in both eyes maximum of £173,000
Facial Scarring
Minor scarring £1,000 to £2,200
Scarring that is visible from a short distance £6,000 to £11,500
Severe scarring maximum of £42,000
Minor scarring (women) £1,000 to £2,200
Scarring that is visible form a short distance (women) £11,500 to £19,500
Severe scarring (women) maximum of £62,000
Fracture to one finger – full recovery within one year £1,700 to £3,000
Serious fracture to a single finger – this would cause permanent stiffness and perhaps a loss of grip. £3,000 to £11,000
Severance of part of a finger £2,500 to £12,000
Complete severance of a finger £5,500 to £58,000
Immediate pain that leads to no permanent damage maximum of £1,500
Fracture with pain lasting 6 months £1,500 to £2,500
Dislocation with tendon damage that requires surgery and limits the thumbs function £2,500 to £8,000
Simple fracture – where the bones heal with no further complication maximum of £4,300
Serious fractures and damaged tendons and ligaments – fractures, and torn and badly strained tendons and ligaments, which lead to sustained injury that affects walking or deforms the foot £4,300 to £16,000
Fusion of foot joints and broken heels – broken joints in the foot can require a fusion operation, as can broken heels, this leads to deformity and limits to the normal ability of a foot £16,000 to £43,000
Amputation – if the injury is so serious that it requires amputation of part or all of the foot, the ability to walk will be impaired significantly, if not completely. £53,000 to £129,000
Frozen Shoulder
Minor frozen shoulder – injury, with no loss of movement, that lasts up to no more than 1 year maximum of £2,800
Minor injury that lasts between 1 and 2 years with no loss of movement £2,800 to £5,000
Moderate frozen shoulder – injury that lasts up to 2 years and limits shoulder movement £5,000 to £8,000
Severe frozen shoulder – permanent damage maximum of £31,000
Hair and Scalp Damage
Temporary damage £1,000 to £4,500
Permanent or lengthy damage £4,500 to £7,000
Thumb fracture – quick recovery maximum of £2,500
Severance of little finger maximum of £8,000
Severance of ring finger maximum of £9,000
Severance of middle finger maximum of £10,000
Severance of index finger maximum of £12,000
Severance of thumb maximum of £35,000
Minor crush of hand – recovery within a few months £2,500
Serious crush of hand – surgery and small disability required £8,500
Head or Brain
Minor injury – if the issues surrounding your injury cleared up within a couple of weeks £1,400
Minor injury accompanied by limited brain damage – a slight injury that also caused insignificant brain damage with no ill after effects, except maybe headaches £1,400 to £8,000
Debilitating brain damage – brain damage that affected your ability to function normally and could have been detrimental socially and in employment; the risk of epilepsy and disability may have occurred £10,000 to £180,000
Serious brain damage – the most severe case of brain damage; serious disability may ensue, with communication functions and life expectancy possibly impaired. £180,000 to £260,000
Minor groin hernia – that exhibits no continuing symptoms after treatment £2000 to £4800
Moderate hernia – that occurred in an area with no pre-existing weakness and holds the risk of not being completely dealt with £4,000 to £8,000
Serious hernia – post-treatment the hernia continues to cause suffering and possibly interferes with your normal life. maximum of £15,000
Minor hip injury – no fracture and adequate recovery maximum of £2,500
Fractured hip – no continuing symptoms or pain £2,500 to £8,000
Hip replacement – hip replacement surgery that gives slight disability £8,000 to £25,000
Severe hip injury – multiple fractures, disability, impaired ability to walk, continuing pain. £25,000 to £84,000
Simple fracture – good heal and no ongoing problems £4,000 to £5,500
Fracture with complications – perhaps permanent inconvenience to eating or other complications have arisen £5,500 to £19,500
Multiple fractures – resulting in operations, disability in the jaw, severe pain and possible arthritis. £19,500 to £30,000
Bruising and twisted knee – recovery within a year, no further complications £1,000 to £3,800
Badly twisted knee – continuation of pain and inconvenience £3,800 to £9,000
Torn cartilage or meniscus – or knee dislocation, that results in need for a knee brace £9,000 to £17,000
Severe knee injury – patella fracture, damage to ligaments, torn cartilage that leads to complications such as limitation of movement, osteoarthritis, knee replacement surgery or other debilitating symptoms. £17,000 to £62,000
Minor lower leg injury – muscle damage, or tibia or fibula fracture with no complications after healing. maximum of £6,000
Minor upper leg injury – fracture of the femur with no complications after healing. £5,700 to £9,000
Severe leg injury – multiple fractures that subsequently inhibit your ability on your legs. £18,000 to £87,000
Lower leg amputation – one or both legs. £59,000 to £173,000
Upper leg amputation – one or both legs £62,000 to £180,000
Whiplash – with symptoms lasting no more than two years maximum of £5,000
Whiplash causing spinal disc injury – possible restricted movement in your neck £5,000 to £16,000
Severe neck injury – if you have permanently restricted movement in your neck and temporary lower body paralysis £21,000 to £95,000
Permanent paralysis – for paraplegia, lower body paralysis, and quadriplegia, paralysis from the neck downwards £140,000 to £260,000
Minor muscular and/or tendon injury – recovery within 1 year maximum of £2,800
Minor injuries – recovery between 1 and 2 years £2,800 to £5,000
Frozen shoulder maximum of £8,100
Severe shoulder injury fractures, dislocations, injured nerves possibly limiting shoulder movement. £8,000 to £31,000
Paralysis maximum of £90,000
Spinal injury with bladder or sexual problems maximum of £40,000
Simple fracture/strains – recovery within 6 months maximum of £3,500
Fracture with complications – taking longer than 6 months to heal £3,500 to £6,200
Crush fracture – will need surgery and could lead to scarring and extra pain £6,200 to £12,300
Amputation £20,000 to £37,000
Minor injury – fractures and strains that heal rapidly £2,000 to £3,000
Colles’ fracture – a break of the radius or ulna bone that results in displacement of the wrist £5,000
Severe injury – any type of injury that causes permanent limitations to the wrist maximum of £40,000

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