Understanding Car Accident Compensation

At Motorlegal, our aim is to protect the rights of injured motorists and their passengers by ensuring they get the compensation they deserve after an accident. This usually involves claiming compensation for both out-of-pocket expenses and non-pecuniary losses, primarily for pain and suffering.

At Motorlegal, we’re here to serve you and ensure that the right people take care of your needs as quickly as possible, so you can get back to living your life as it should be. In today’s post, we’ll take a closer look at what this all means for you if you’ve recently been involved in a car crash.

What Is a Non-Pecuniary Loss?

In general, a good way of thinking about non-pecuniary losses, also called “general damages,” is that these are intangible damages that occur as a result of your accident. They are not easily quantified and itemized, but they are still very valid. For example, if you miss work due to an accident, this loss of income can be counted and measured, so it would not fall under the umbrella of non-pecuniary loss. However, if you miss work and also begin struggling with a physical or mental issue stemming from the accident, this is where the more general damages begin to come into play.

Often, when we hear people referring to car crash compensation for “pain and suffering,” this is what they are talking about. For clarity, let’s break down some specific types of loss that fall under the non-pecuniary category below. Feel free to use this as a reference if you are planning your next steps.

What Is a Non-Pecuniary Loss?

In general, a good way of thinking about non-pecuniary losses, also called “general damages,” is that these are the intangible damages that occur as a result of your accident. They are not easily quantified and itemised, but they are still highly relevant. For example, if you miss work due to an accident, any loss of income can be measured as a specific financial loss, so would not fall under the category of non-pecuniary loss. These are known as “special damages” (not because the are actually special but because they are specific). However, if you suffer a physical or psychological injury after an accident, you may be able to claim compensation (or general damages) for those injuries.

Often, when we hear people referring to car crash compensation for “pain and suffering,” this is what they are talking about. For clarity, we’ll break down some specific types of loss that fall under the non-pecuniary category below.

Types of Non-Pecuniary Loss

Pain and suffering

This covers any pain or discomfort arising from the injury itself, any ongoing treatment, operations, or procedures that are undertaken a direct result of the car accident. This is probably the most common type of non-pecuniary loss we see here at Motorlegal. It includes the physical and mental aspects of any injury, because the psychological effects of an accident can be just as serious, sometimes more so, than the actual physical damage to your body. At its worst, some road accident victims will suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which can be a long-term and very distressing condition, including symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety and hypervigilance (heightened awareness of risk).

Loss of amenity

This means the loss of the ability to do the things that you used to be able to do, such as playing sport and carrying out household and recreational activities (such as mowing the lawn or carrying heavy shopping). Physical activities usually take precedence here, but mental issues may be relevant. For example, anxiety which interferes with your ability to do certain things will be considered (see PTSD above).

Gratuitous Services

If your injury means that you are unable to carry out certain tasks for yourself, and therefore need assistance with them, you may be able to recover the cost of having another person provide those services to you. However, there are strict rules about what can be recovered, and it must be more than just the occasional helping hand.

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What result can I expect?

We won’t be able to estimate an amount for compensation until we know the details of your case. Awards for non-pecuniary losses can vary widely depending upon the particular circumstances of your case. For instance, if your accident occurred very recently, it may be difficult to determine the full extent of the injury. We need to gather information from a number of medical sources and until we have a clear indication of the likely outcome, it can be hard to predict what the outcome of your case will be.

Normally, we need to know that the point of maximal recovery has been reached before we can settle a claim. We may have to delay settling your case until we know more about the long-term consequences of your injuries. It can be tempting to want everything sorted out as quickly as possible, but this has to be balanced against getting a clear idea of what your injury involves.

Your compensation will depend on several factors, including:

  • How serious the initial injuries were
  • How well you respond to treatment
  • The effect of the accident on your finances and earning capacity
  • Any out of pocket you have paid as a result of your accident
  • The amount of any ongoing medical treatment you may require on an individual or regular basis (for example if you need an operation in future or require ongoing medication or physiotherapy)

Each of these will have an impact on the value of your claim, so we need to have a full understanding of your individual situation before settling any claim. There is a minimum threshold requirement and a maximum limit for non-pecuniary loss. The range is wide and finding where your case may lie in that range requires detailed consideration.

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Understanding Settlement Processes

It is important to remember that initiating, managing and settling a claim takes time. Each case is different, and we need to take account of your particular circumstances and any relevant court decisions and changes in the law. We then need to consider any applicable compensation thresholds or limits and any relevant time limits for your claim. It takes time to build a fair and compelling case but we will do everything to ensure that this happens.

If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident, call us for a free initial discussion. We will explain your options in plain language because we know how distressing and overwhelming it can be. If you want us to help take control of the situation, call us. We’re here to help.

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