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What Are Special Damages In Relation To Personal Injury Claims?

View profile for SherReene Cheah
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Any claimant who is pursuing a personal injury claim will have heard the term “special damages” but may not initially be sure what this means.

Compensation in personal injury claims is made up of two elements; general damages and special damages. General damages is the term used for compensation payable for pain, suffering and loss of amenity arising out of the injuries sustained in an accident, which may be physical and/or psychological.  Special Damages is the term used to refer to any actual financial losses incurred as a direct result of the accident.

There are various heads of financial loss which may be included in a claim. The largest element of financial loss is often loss of earnings. If a claimant is unable to work following an accident due to the injuries sustained, he/she may receive only Statutory Sick Pay and will therefore incur financial losses. Even if a claimant is paid a basic wage by the employer during the period of absence, he/she may still lose out on overtime or shift allowance, and these losses could be included in their claim.

Some claimants have to attend numerous medical appointments, such as hospital and physiotherapy appointments, and may incur significant expenses in mileage and parking or alternatively using public transport.  These may be recoverable as special damages.

Other items of financial loss which commonly occur are purchase of medication, which could be prescriptions or over the counter medication, and aids and equipment. Claimants may also wish to claim for items damaged in the accident such as clothing or spectacles and the like.  There is also the question of damage to vehicles in road traffic claims and although this will usually be dealt with by the claimant’s motor insurers, an insurance policy excess may be payable which then becomes an item of financial loss to be included in the personal injury claim.

Another item which is treated as special damages is care and assistance, even if the claimant does not pay for it where it was provided gratuitously by family members or friends. If a claimant is unable to carry out their household chores or personal care as a result of their injuries and requires assistance from others, he/she is entitled to be compensated for this.


The above are merely examples of items which may be claimed as part of a personal injury claim.  Every case is different and if you believe that you have incurred expense as a direct result of your accident, you should let us know as soon as possible to enable us to advise you as to whether that item can be included in your claim and if so, what evidence you will need to prove that loss.

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