Negligence and compensation in a civil case

Information

It is not enough to have been in an accident or to have suffered injury in order to obtain compensation from the courts. It must be clear that the party or parties you have sued were to blame for the accident and the injuries that you have suffered.

It may be the case that a number of people are partly to blame for an accident, including the person suing. In that situation, the court will apportion or divide the blame between the different people involved. For example, a driver who suffered injury in a car accident in circumstances where he/she wasn't wearing a seat-belt may be 15% to blame for the injuries he/she suffered. As a result, the court may only award him/her 85% of the compensation that his/her injuries are valued at.

Your claim for compensation will be divided into two parts.

General damages

This is compensation for the pain, suffering and inconvenience you experienced and will continue to experience as a result of the accident.

The court will decide the level of damages by estimating the gravity of the injuries. It will do this by considering all the medical evidence put before it, by considering the pain already suffered by the person suing and the prognosis for the future, that is, how long and to what intensity the injured party is likely to continue suffering.

Special damages

This is compensation for the financial costs and expenses both past and future you incurred as a result of the accident. This would include the cost of repairing your car (if relevant), the medical costs you incurred, your loss of earnings as a result of being unable to go to work and all expenses, including travel, home-help and similar, you incurred.

You may be asked to produce receipts and bills to prove you have incurred all of these expenses so it is important to keep a file of every bill and receipt.

Page edited: 10 March 2015