General damages are awarded for direct consequences of the injury, such as pain, suffering and loss of amenity (the ability to do certain things). The amount of compensation will depend on the seriousness of your injuries. Loss of amenity can be anything from restrictions on enjoying a daily hobby to loss of future earnings from work.
Special damages can be awarded when you are restricted from maintaining your income because of the accident. This can include wages, travel costs and medical expenses.
You may also recover any loss of earnings, which would include money that you would have earned had the accident not occurred. The courts will only consider loss of earnings when the injury sustained is very severe and if you are unlikely to fully recover from the damage the accident caused. The courts will also consider your promotion prospects before the accident, or any pay increases you might have received, when assessing loss of earnings.
You may have heard of “no win no fee” agreement. This is a Conditional Fee Agreement, which is a written agreement between you and the legal practitioner who is representing you. It means you have to pay some or all of their legal fees if you win. They can also charge an additional success fee on top of the standard fees, if you do win your case, as a certain percentage of the standard fees.
Legal costs may also be covered by your household insurance or through membership of a particular scheme, such as trade unions or a professional membership organisation. Legal expenses cover can sometimes be available through your bank account.
If you lose your case, you will have to pay all of the winner’s costs, as well as your own costs. But the court has discretion to decide what would be reasonable for you to pay. Usually, the legal professional representing you will ask you to take out 'after the event insurance' before you start a claim. This will help protect you in case you are ordered to pay the your opponent’s legal costs.
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