The typical British response to all but the most catastrophic injuries is a stoic and dismissive attitude to the impact of physical trauma on everyday life.
As a culture we encourage people to brush their injuries under the carpet with an “Oh, it’s nothing” or “It’s only a flesh wound”. It is the classic ‘be calm and carry on’ attitude.
The injured person is then judged adversely for not dragging themselves into work or for not keeping up with daily chores – and for considering personal injury compensation.
Serious life-changing injury
The problem is that we tend to judge people on the type of injury they have suffered rather than judging the person’s circumstances. One person’s inconvenient broken ankle can be another person’s serious life-changing injury that impacts on their livelihood, wellbeing and quality of life.
An accountant who has broken his leg in an accident does not have to stop working. He can still use a calculator, spreadsheets, email and the telephone to do his job. However, a self-employed window cleaner with a broken leg can’t do his job and the knock-on effect can be huge.
The window cleaner can’t earn a living with a broken leg. Do they have rent or a mortgage to pay and a family to feed? Will they have to pay for someone else to do the work? Could they lose customers? How long will the broken leg take to get better? Will they need specialist treatment? What if the leg does not heal properly? Do they have any other skills?
The law acknowledges a wide range of injuries
For the purposes of compensation, the law acknowledges a wide range of injuries and takes into account the injured person’s circumstances.
A serious injury can encompass anything from bruising or broken bones through to brain damage or spinal cord injuries. It is any kind of injury – major or minor – that keeps you away from work for more than three days or impacts significantly on your day-to-day life, such as looking after your children.
Pain, suffering and loss of amenity
The compensation an injured person receives through a successful claim is grouped into two categories called general damages and special damages. Within both of these categories the injured person’s circumstances (for example, livelihood and hobbies) can be taken into account.
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. The category includes the sorts of things that can be hard to value because every person’s experience and the impact of an injury will be unique to them. This can include such considerations as:
- Psychological pain and anguish
- Physical pain and suffering
- Physical disfigurement and disability
- The loss of a promotion in work
- Disadvantage in the job market
- Unable to complete daily tasks
- Forced to give up a hobby
- Forced to stop playing a sport
Special damages are a little more straightforward. They are known as economic damages and relate to tangible monetary losses as a result of the injury to the person. For example, loss of earnings and the cost of medical treatment.
So, it is important to remember that every injury is relative to the person and their circumstances – and that the law recognises this. Do not just dismiss your own or a loved-one’s minor injury. Talk to a specialist personal injury solicitor if you believe the injury was a result of the negligent actions or omission of another party who owed you a duty of care.
Experience in serious and catastrophic law
A specialist and experienced personal injury lawyer will provide free, initial advice with no obligations. Birchall Blackburn Law’s injury solicitors certainly offer this free service so make the most of it and give our experts a call. You may have grounds for a compensation claim after an injury.
With over 100 years of combined experience in serious and catastrophic law, our special serious injury solicitors are just a phone call away. You can reach them on 0800 988 1548, or feel free to take a look at more information here.