A road traffic accident can be extremely traumatic. Even if you are only involved in a minor crash, it can leave you injured, feeling afraid of the road and can damage your vehicle. That’s why you may be considering claiming compensation from the party at fault. Now, most people think that when you make a claim, you are solely claiming for your injuries. Well, you can actually claim for a lot more than just that. The point of compensation is to return you to where you were previously, before you had the accident in the first place. This means that you can actually claim for other damages that happened in the accident. These are known as special damages.
So, what are these special damages and how do they relate to road accident compensation claims? This is what this blog is going to uncover!
What sort of Road traffic accident (RTA) have you had?
Before we jump in to the type of special damages you could be owed, let’s focus on the basic facts behind road traffic accidents to get you started. You can have a road traffic accident in any sort of vehicle. This can include cars, public transport, motorbikes or even if you are a pedestrian. Your claim depends on the negligence of the other party and how bad your injuries and losses were. The cause of your accident could have been caused by a number of factors. Take a look at our infographic below to learn how you could have been hurt in your accident:
As you can see, there are quite a few ways that you could get injured whilst you are on the road. Usually, it is due to the negligence of other drivers. However, there are circumstances where your environment or vehicle could also play a part in your accident. That’s why it’s important to understand who is responsible for your injuries. In some cases it will be the other driver, but who will you go to if you have hit a pothole or if your vehicle breaks down? You may have to consider other types of parties, like:
- Local government
- Car Manufacturers
- Engineers/ Repair Dealers
Discuss who you are going to claim against with your solicitor. The sort of party you claim against may ultimately change how much of a pay-out you receive. You may even be asked to discuss a settlement before you even go to court.
Liability: Who is to blame?
Before we move on to discuss special damages, an important point we need to bring up is liability. Liability means “who is at fault”. So, when someone is liable for a damage, it basically shows that they were the ones that caused the damages in the first place. Therefore, they are now responsible for providing compensation through their insurance to the party that was injured.
You need to figure out whether or not you were truly the party that deserved compensation. After all, there are ways that could make you responsible for the accident too. Were you wearing a seat belt during the accident? If not then the amount of compensation you are owed could be lowered. Worse still, you may even have to claim partial compensation.
Make sure to consider all of the factors and evidence of your RTA before you make your claim. That way you can avoid any pitfalls in your case.
General Damages: What are these?
Now that you understand what caused your accident in the first place, you need to figure out what you can claim for. Yes, you can claim for your injuries. A road traffic accident can leave you with severe damages that won’t heal overnight. Instead, it may be months before you are back on your feet. Worse still, you may be left with some sort of disability or impairment. Physical injuries are known as “general damages”. They are awarded for the pain and suffering of the claimant. These damages may also be awarded for loss of amenity. A loss of amenity means that you are now suffering from injuries that prevent you from doing normal activities (i.e. going to work or socializing with your friends).
These tend to be the most common damages that you can claim for. However, there are things called “special damages”. These are awarded for damages that occur outside of physical injuries.
Could I be owed special damages?
Yes! You could be owed special damages if you are the victim of a road traffic accident. You see, special damages are not the same as physical injuries. The other party pays from their vehicle insurance to help restore the losses you may have experienced in your accident. These losses may have included:
- Damages to your vehicle
- Emotional trauma
- Financial losses (aka. wages, engineering work, rehabilitation treatment)
- Medical expenses
The point is, an accident on the road can make you feel like time has slowed down. It will take you a while to recover. This means in the future you are going to struggle to keep up with your daily routine. For example, if you were involved in a bike accident, how would you travel around if your bike was destroyed in the collision? Claiming special damages can help you get compensation to potentially afford a new bike and any other gear that might have been destroyed in the crash.
If you are feeling a little bit confused about what you could claim for, have a look at our case study below. It may give you some hints about what you can state are your losses. Just remember, each RTA is completely different. Your case is going to be different from any other case. That means that you are going to have to think about the circumstances behind your accident. Consider what you will need to pay for and how the compensation will help you heal from the accident. This will put things into perspective about what you are going to need the compensation for:
Additional Examples of special damages in a road traffic accident
If you have experienced very specific losses due to your road traffic accident, it can be difficult to decide whether they fall in the category of general or special damages. Either way, you can claim for these losses. However, it will help your case if you know precisely what you are claiming for. Let’s have a look at a case study to see if you can figure out which losses are general and which are special damages:
Did you manage to guess the answers about what Lewis could claim for? If you guessed:
- General Damages: Whiplash and broken ribs due to the other party’s negligence.
- Special Damages: Damaged vehicle, payments for rehabilitation therapy & medication and emotional trauma.
You were right! The best way to distinguish between the two is whether or not they were physical damage and had an impact on how you felt in your daily life, or if they made you lose money after the accident happened. Here are some more examples of special damages just to help you get more of a sense of what you could claim for:
- Long-term medical payments (i.e. physiotherapy)
- Transport expenses
- Wage losses
- Job losses
- Damaged equipment/personal property
Can I claim for both types of damages?
Yes, you can claim for both categories of damages from a road traffic accident if you have the evidence to back it up. However, you must keep in mind that it can be more difficult to claim for general damages than it is for special damages. This is because you are calculating expenses that are directly due to your road traffic accident case. So if you keep your receipts or medical records, it should be pretty easy to see what losses you have made.
However, general damages rely on you proving that the pain and suffering did cause you significant damages. Having a solicitor available to help you with this will help you to claim maximum compensation for both sets of claims. You may not have the experience needed to fully understand how to do this yourself. However, having a trained legal professional on your side can help take the stress off you whilst you recover from your injuries.
Do you have your evidence prepared?
No matter what sort of claims case you have, be it an accident at work case or a public injury case, you need evidence to prove that you suffered from damages that were outside of your control. When you are involved in a road traffic accident, the first thing that you should be thinking about is your own safety. If you are injured badly then you need to go to hospital. However, if you do not think you have suffered from any severe injuries, you will need to take down the other person’s licence plate number and ask for their insurance number. You then will want to take:
- Photographs of the accident environment and your injuries
- Videos of the scene of the accident and your injuries
- Witness statement and contact numbers
- Police statements
- CCTV footage
- Diary entries (to prove emotional damages and difficulties in daily activities)
- Receipts for expenses
Don’t be afraid to call the police if you want the accident to be documented in a police report. These can be useful if you want an unbiased statement to help with your claims case.
Do special damages apply to all vehicle accidents?
They do! It doesn’t matter if you were hurt in a car, van, on public transport, on a motorbike or if you were simply crossing the road. Each road traffic accident is different for each claimant, however that does not mean that you should not be able to get compensation. Your situations may differ, but if you look carefully at the evidence that you have already then you should be able to separate it in to general and special damages. That way when you start to work with a trained legal solicitor, you should be able to understand exactly what you can claim for. Make sure to file away your evidence so that it can be organized by your legal advisor quickly and efficiently.
How much could I claim from road traffic accident compensation?
Now that you understand the types of compensation that you can claim for, you may be wondering how much you could claim overall. This depends entirely on the amount of damages and losses you have suffered. Some people may be able to claim thousands if they have the evidence to back up their claims. Your solicitor can estimate the amount you can be owed, so make sure to get in touch with legal help as soon as possible. You don’t want to wait just in case you lose evidence!
Gowing Law Solicitors can help you with your road traffic accident claim!
Here at Gowing Law, we understand that any sort of road traffic accident can be traumatic. They can leave you feeling vulnerable and unsure about how you are going to move forward with the future. This is why are our trained solicitors in Manchester are here to help you with your case. Our lawyers are experts in RTA claims and know exactly how to get you the highest form of compensation that you deserve. They can offer free advice and help about your claim. We also can work remotely to help you if you are feeling nervous about the spread of Covid-19.
Once you are ready to go forward with your claim, you can work with Gowing Law on a “no win-no fee” basis. That means no matter what the outcome is of your case, you will always come out on top. You will not have to pay any fees if we do not win you your compensation. So, what is stopping you from making a claim?
Contact Gowing Law today by calling 0800 041 8350, emailing email@example.com or by clicking on our contact page. From there, one of our friendly team members will get in contact as quickly as possible. Feel free to ask them any questions about your case.
Want to learn more about road traffic accident claims?
Gowing Law is proud to present our clients an informative blog that is full of interesting law articles. Are you interested in learning about the basics of your claim before meeting a solicitor? Well, our blog is the place to be. We update it every week with new content that can help you understand exactly what you can claim for. Should you want to learn more about RTA claims, why not check out some of our blogs below:
- Pedestrian Safety & Covid-19: What you need to know
- Car Accidents & Whiplash: How much compensation could I claim?
- Top 5 Tips for Cyclist Safety in the City
- Can I make a public transport accident compensation claim?
If you scroll through our blog page, you can also find content about work & public accidents, criminal compensation claims, cosmetic negligence and financial mis-selling. Don’t see what you are looking for? Why not write in to let us know what topic you want us to cover? Send in your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org!
We look forward to seeing you in our next blog and wish you the best of luck with your compensation claim.