A Guide To Special Damages In Personal Injury Claims

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What Are Special Damages In Personal Injury Claims?

By Cat Way. Last Updated 4th January 2024. If you’re involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be eligible to make a personal injury claim if the accident was caused by a third party who owed you a duty of care being negligent. However, did you know you could also include any financial losses in your claim too? This part of your compensation is known as special damages.

Special damages are not a fine or a penalty but instead are designed to put you back in the same financial position you were in prior to the injury. In this guide, we’ll explain what financial losses your claim could include. We’ll also provide details of how the claims process works.

What are special damages in personal injury claims guide

What are special damages in personal injury claims guide

Legal Expert can help if you decide to claim. We provide a telephone consultation and legal advice on a no-obligation basis. Where your claim appears strong enough, we could connect you with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors. We will explain what No Win No Fee means later on in this guide.

If you are ready to begin a personal injury claim right away, why not give us a call on 0800 073 8804 today? Alternatively, read on to learn more about how special damages are calculated.

Select A Section

  1. The Definition of Special Damages
  2. What Do Special Damages Cover?
  3. How Long Do I Have To Claim For Special Damages?
  4. How To Claim For Damages – Evidence Needed In Claiming Damages
  5. Personal Injury Compensation Calculator
  6. No Win No Fee Claims For Special Damages
  7. Resources

The Definition of Special Damages

Special damages make up one head of compensation that could result from a successful personal injury compensation claim. Under this heading, you can claim back the financial losses you have suffered as a result of your injuries. For example, this might include lost earnings due to taking time off work to recover from your injuries. Or, it could cover the cost of home adjustments, such as having doorways widened to fit a wheelchair or having a stairlift installed to help you move between floors.

However, before you can claim compensation, you first have to make sure that your case meets the personal injury claims criteria. This means that you must be able to prove that:

  • Someone else owed you a duty of care.
  • They breached this duty of care.
  • This breach caused you to suffer harm.

Whether or not you are owed a duty of care can depend on where you are and what you are doing. For example, if you are at work, then your employer owes you a duty of care under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HASAWA).  

To learn more about making a personal injury claim and claiming for special damages, contact our team of advisors today. They can offer more information on the personal injury claims process.

What Do Special Damages Cover?

Here is a list of what you could receive as part of your claim:

  • Travel costs. If you have to visit a hospital, pharmacy or GP surgery, you might incur travel expenses, including the cost of parking. You may be able to claim these back.
  • Medical costs. Usually, you’ll receive free NHS treatment to help you recover. However, prescription fees, non-NHS treatment and other medical costs could be added to your personal injury  claim.
  • Care costs. If you need to help with daily activities because of your injuries, the cost of a carer could be added to your claim. This includes gracious care by loved ones.
  • Lost income. You could claim back any earnings you lose as a result of your injuries.
  • Modifications to your home. Where you are left with a disability, you could claim changes to your home or vehicle if they’ll make it easier to cope.
  • Replacing or repairing personal property. Finally, if any item of your property is damaged or written off during the accident, this could also be claimed back.

There may be some expenses that you have incurred but that we have not listed above. If you’re wondering whether your claim could include an expense caused by your injuries in your claim, why not get in touch with us today?

One of our advisors will be happy to offer you free legal advice about what you can claim. They could also connect you with a personal injury solicitor if your claim has a good chance of success.

Can I Claim For Future Loss Of Earnings Under Special Damages?

Compensation through special damages can sometimes take into account losses you will or may continue to suffer until your injury heals. If you are claiming a loss of earnings, you could potentially be able to make a claim for any future loss of earnings. This is compensation for how your injury may affect your ability to work going forward.

This can be calculated or requested based on several factors, including:

  • Your age
  • The site of injury
  • The expected length of your injury
  • Missed bonuses or pension contributions
  • The field you were working in and your potential job prospects
  • Earning prospects based on the average of the field you are working in

Our advisers are specialists who could value your claim, including any future financial losses you may be likely to face.

If you would like to learn more about personal injury claims or how much you could receive in compensation for both general and special damages, then please reach out for a free valuation.

How Long Do I Have To Claim For Special Damages?

An important part of claiming general and special damages is ensuring that your damages claim is made within the correct time limit. This time limit is set out by the Limitation Act 1980, and states that in order to claim general or special damages for a personal injury, your claim must be made within three years of your injury.

However, there are some exceptions in place to this time limit. For example, if you are under the age of eighteen, then the time limit is frozen until you turn eighteen. The time limit then reinstates and ends when you turn twenty-one. At any point during this time, someone else can make a damages claim on your behalf as a litigation friend.

Similarly, if you do not have the mental capacity to claim for yourself, the time limit is frozen and a litigation friend can claim on your behalf. If you have the ability to recover the appropriate capacity,  then the time limit will reinstate on the date of recovery.

To learn more about claiming special damages for a personal injury, contact our team of advisors today.

How To Claim For Damages – Evidence Needed

When making a claim for damages, both general and special, you need to be able to provide the relevant evidence to support your claim. A copy of your medical records, stating your injury and the treatment you received for it, could be used as evidence to help support your general damages claim.

When making a claim for special damages, some of the evidence you could supply include:

  • Payslips to prove a loss of earnings if you’ve required time off work.
  • Receipts for taxi rides to medical appointments to help prove travel costs.
  • Invoices for care expenses if you’ve required a carer to help you with your injury.
  • Bank statements to prove any medical costs, such as having to pay for therapy for a mental injury.

Without any evidence, it could be difficult to successfully claim.

Do not hesitate to contact our advisors today if you have any questions about claiming damages in a personal injury claim. Our friendly advisors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to offer you free legal advice and help answer any questions regarding your particular claim.

Personal Injury Compensation Calculator

You cannot make a claim for special damages in personal injury law without also claiming for general damages. These two heads of claim come together to form a personal injury compensation payout. Every successful claimant receives general damages because this head of claim covers the injuries you sustained and the way they affect your life.

When solicitors calculate this head of your claim, they may refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The JCG offers guideline compensation brackets for different severities of illnesses and injuries. In the table below, you can find some examples of these brackets, but it’s important to note that these aren’t guaranteed amounts. Please note that the first entry in this table is not taken from the JCG.

JCG Table

Injury Severity Level Additional Information Compensation Range
Multiple Serious Injuries + Special Damages Serious A combination of multiple serious injuries and substantial financial losses, like lost earnings and the cost of medical bills. Up to £1,000,000+
Facial Disfigurement Very Severe Scarring A severe psychological reaction and disfiguring cosmetic effect in younger claimants, in their teens to early thirties. £29,780 to £97,330
Wrist (a) The wrist has suffered a complete loss of function, potentially due to an arthrodesis being performed. £47,620 to £59,860
Leg (b) Moderate (iv) Multiple/complicated fractures or a crush injury to a single leg that could result in limited movement with muscle wastage. £27,760 to £39,200
Foot Serious Less severe foot injuries that cause continuing pain from traumatic arthritis. Or there is a future risk of traumatic arthritis with prolonged treatment and fusion surgery. £24,990 to £39,200
Pelvis and Hips Moderate (i) A significant hip or pelvis injury, but there is no major disability. £26,590 to £39,170
Arm Less Severe A significant recovery will have taken place, despite suffering from significant disabilities. £19,200 to £39,170
Back Moderate (ii) Backache caused by the muscles and ligaments in the back being disturbed from frequently encountered injuries to the back. £12,510 to £27,760
Shoulder Moderate A frozen shoulder that causes discomfort and limited movement. Symptoms should persist for around 2 years. £7,890 to £12,770
Fractures of Jaws (iii) Simple jaw fractures that require immobilisation but a full recovery is made. £6,460 to £8,730
Neck Minor (i) Covers soft tissue injuries where full recovery occurs in a year or two. £4,350 to £7,890

As we’ve mentioned, the second head of compensation you could get for a personal injury is special damages. Contact our team today to start your claim, or read on to learn about the benefits of working with a solicitor to help you claim special damages.

No Win No Fee Claims For Special Damages

We provide a  No Win No Fee service for all claims we take on. That means your solicitor won’t ask for payment unless you receive compensation.

If they accept your case, your solicitor won’t ask you for payment while your claim is ongoing or in order for them to start working on it. They also won’t ask to be paid if the case is unsuccessful.

If your claim is won, however, a success fee will be deducted from your compensation. It is a fixed percentage of your compensation (capped by law) and means you always get the majority of the compensation you’re awarded.

To find out if you could claim on a No Win No Fee basis, why not call today?

Contact Our Team

If you’d like to discuss a compensation claim including special damages, please:

  • Call our advice line on 0800 073 8804.
  • Use the live chat to connect with an advisor.
  • Ask for a call back using this form.
  • Email us at info@legalexpert.co.uk.


Please find a list of articles and guides that might help during your claim below:

Obtaining Medical Records – NHS information on how to get copies of your medical records.

Requesting CCTV Footage – Government advice on requesting copies of CCTV footage of yourself.

Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 – Legislation that means employers must be covered for any accident at work claims.

We have lots more guides on personal injury claims which you can browse below: 

Thank you for reading about what special damages you could claim.

Written By Hambridge

Edited By Stocks.

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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