Most UK compensation claim solicitors are members of the Solicitors Regulation Authority panel of personal injury experts and are members of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. In the event of more serious matters claimants may call upon the services of compensation claim solicitors who are recognised by ‘Headway’, the national brain injury charity and by the ‘Spinal Injuries Association’.
Damages that can be recovered by compensation claim solicitors is usually divided into two main sections for ease of calculation. In addition to general damages and special damages the courts will also make an award of interest the calculation for which can be complex and is dependent on the type of damages both in regard to duration and rate. A further calculation is also carried out relating to future losses which has characteristics of both general damages and special damages and is therefore considered separately:-
Special Damages represents compensation that can be calculated accurately and with a degree of certainty that is not reliant on assessment by a judge or lawyers. It includes such things as past wages losses, damage to property and general expenses.
General Damages represents compensation for items that need to be assessed and the main item in this category is the pain and suffering for the injury itself although there can be an award for a deleterious change of lifestyle.
All UK personal injury claims are subject to the Limitation Act 1980 which imposes time limits. The basic limitation period is three years and in general terms an action must have either been settled or legal proceedings should have been issued within three years of the accident failing which the matter will become statute barred and the opportunity to claim compensation may have been lost forever. There are exceptions to this general rule including those under the age of 18 years old and in their case the three-year period does not start running until they reach the age of 18 years expiring on the eve of the 21st birthday. In the case of the mentally incapacitated the period only starts to run when mental capacity is regained or in the case of the long term mentally disabled it may never start to run. The period only starts to run when the injury is discovered with reasonable diligence and in addition the court has wide powers which it rarely excises to extend the limitation period.