Many people start an accident at work claim because they realise that they will suffer a loss of earnings because of an accident at work that was their employer’s fault. They then realise that they can claim for their injuries, too.

The fact is that unless your contract of employment says otherwise, there is nothing to force your employer to pay you whilst you are on sick leave from work. You may be entitled to statutory sick pay, but in most cases, that still leaves most injured workers suffering lost earnings. If your sick leave continues for any length of time, you may have a considerable amount of loss of earnings. (See our blog, Do you get paid if you’ve had an accident at work? )

Your accident at work claim will be for two forms of damages (compensation).

General damages

a)    Pain, suffering and loss of amenity

This element of damages includes the claim for your injuries. It is known as damages for PSLA – pain, suffering and loss of amenity. The ‘loss and amenity’ part is to compensate you for the widespread impact the injuries have had on your lifestyle.

b)   Handicap on the open labour market

If the injuries you received in the accident are likely to affect getting another job, should you find yourself looking for a new job, you can claim compensation for general damages for this.

c)    Future loss of earnings

You can claim future earnings loss when you commence court proceedings if you have not returned to work at that stage.

d)   Loss of congenial employment

These are damages to compensate a claimant who, as a result of their injuries, cannot return to doing the type of work they did at the time of the accident.

Special damages

These are losses that are capable of being mathematically calculated. Loss of earnings is special damages. Other items of special damage can include:

  • Cost of replacing clothing or personal items damaged in the accident
  • Prescription costs
  • Private medical bills
  • Care costs
  • Costs of doing DIY, gardening, cleaning, laundry, ironing and other household chores that the claimant’s ongoing injuries prevent them from doing
  • Adaptations to the home
  • Replacement transport if the claimant’s injuries/disabilities make this a necessity.
  • Specialist aids
  • Rehabilitation costs

Point to note – The example list of special damages that we have outlined shows us that accidents at work cause catastrophic injuries in far too many cases.

When special damages claims include the cost of paying someone to do the type of work around the home that we take for granted doing for ourselves or the cost of having homes adapted or new ones bought to take account of a disability that the claimant now has as a result of an accident at work, it highlights the reason accident at work claims are serious matters. It also emphasises why there is a need for claimants or their families to seek out the services of a specialist accident at work solicitor to act on their behalf.