How is a medical negligence claim calculated?

When a medical negligence claim is calculated, all of the circumstances surrounding the victim and the incident of negligence will be taken into account. In some cases the amount of compensation could be less than £1,000, and the person making the claim will have not only the satisfaction of a financial recompense for their suffering, but also of the acknowledgement that a mistake was made, and an apology. However for other claimants, the consequences of negligence are life-changing and a large financial award will be needed in order to go about daily life.

When looking at how much a victim of medical negligence is likely to receive, we will need to consider several areas.

General Damages

These reflect the pain and suffering experienced by the victim, and the effect that the injury has on his or her ability to enjoy everyday life. Every year the government publishes ‘Guidelines for the Assessment for General Damages in Personal Injury’. This sets out the minimum and maximum awards which should be awarded for each specific type of injury. Examples include:

Minor neck injuries: £700-£6,615
Total blindness: up to £217,200
Very severe brain damage: £227,900 – £347,825

Specific Damages

The second type of award for medical negligence is much more specific to the individual. These damages are related to the financial effects of the negligence on the victims and aim to put them in a situation as close as possible to the one they would have been in if the negligence had never taken place.

The victim can claim costs which have occurred due to the negligence. These could include:
– Travel costs related to treatment
– Costs of treatment, e.g. prescription charges, physiotherapy bills
– Costs of time off work or loss of employment. This can include sick pay covered by an employer, as well as loss of earnings,loss of employment benefits and loss of pension contributions. If the claimant is self-employed, this will take into account the effects of the injury on that person’s business.
It might be possible to claim for the loss of earnings of a partner who had to take time off work to care for the victim.
– Costs of specialist equipment
– Adaptations to the home, or the cost of moving to suitable accommodation
– Expenses of home assistance, for example help with shopping, cooking or home maintenance, or of nursing or other care
– Increased energy costs from additional laundry or heating or special medical equipment
– The costs of any holiday which had to be cancelled as a result of the negligence

In the case of an injury from which the victim will not make a full recovery, some of these costs will be ongoing, and this will be factored into the compensation. The victim might receive a lump sum, or a regular payment to account for these costs.

In short, when considering how a medical negligence claim will be calculated, the three questions to consider are:

How much pain and suffering did the negligence cause?
What expenses and financial losses have resulted from the negligence?
How long will these effects continue?

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