What can I claim for?
Solicitors spend years learning about this area of the law and still they may not know everything. We pride ourselves on the fact that whenever we take over a case we always find items of loss that can be claimed for and have been missed by the previous solicitors.
There are two sides to any case, namely proving who was at fault and assessing the amount of loss (damage) incurred as a result. Damages are usually assessed on a full basis and then reduced to account for any compromise on fault (i.e. if the accident was the fault of both parties equally then each recovers 50% of the value of their claim).
There are three simple rules that apply to being able to claim for financial loss as follows:
1. The loss must arise because of the accident you are claiming for;
2. You must be able to prove the loss. Written evidence is best, although witness evidence can be used, and ideally you should keep all paperwork including bank statements, payslips, a damages diary and taxi receipts;
3. The loss must be reasonable and reasonably foreseeable. If you could spend £10 avoiding a £1,000 loss then don't be surprised if you only recover £10.
Practical examples of how these apply in practice, although it must be remembered that nothing is ever clear cut, are as follows:
Most insurers expect vehicles to be repaired within 42 days. During that time period they will expect to pay out for hire vehicles or loss of use, but will not pay if you had another vehicle that you could have used (as they argue you have suffered no loss). They will normally arrange an inspection of your vehicle before it is repaired. They may expect you to move the vehicle to a place of free storage and if you do not get the repairs done promptly they usually try to refuse to pay for any ongoing losses caused by the fact you do not have a vehicle.
Loss of earnings
If you are off work as a result of the accident or lose your employment and are not paid you can claim for the loss, which is paid net of tax and national insurance. It is automatically deemed reasonably foreseeable that if you are injured you may not be able to work and may lose money as a result. However, if your employer pays you in full then while they may be able to claim this back (and would ask you to do this for them) you have no loss to claim. If you lose money but then go back to work and work extra to catch up any loss then again you have no loss to claim for (but may be able to claim for loss of leisure time).
You have an absolute entitlement to obtain private treatment and ask the other side to pay for this. This is an exception to the reasonableness test. However, they will often try and control this by refusing to let you have money in advance to pay for any treatment you need.
Loss of property/home
It is not regarded as reasonably foreseeable that if you are injured and have no income as a result you may lose your home. If this is a real risk you must tell the other side as soon as possible. By telling them of this risk you make it foreseeable.
Should your current solicitor be advising you that you cannot claim some of your damages following on from an accident then feel free to ring us for a second opinion.
The rules are simple. How they apply is not. For expert help call us on (0800) 783 6191 anytime.