Legal Guides

Out of Pocket Expenses in Personal Injury Claims

In personal injury claims, the term "special damages" often arise. What it really means is the out of pocket expenses your accident causes. In your personal injury claim, you will claim damages for the pain and suffering caused by the accident and resulting injury. You will also claim special damages, or out of pocket expenses.

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Examples of Special Damages

Medical Expenses

All costs for doctor’s attendance, hospital charges, x-ray and MRI scans, physiotherapy sessions and medication can be claimed back.

Travel Expenses

All travel expenses incurred as a result of the personal injury can be claimed. For example, taxi fares to and from the hospital or car parking.

Loss of Earnings

All lost wages due to absence as a result of the personal injury can be claimed. In the event that you have received social welfare payments, these will be deducted from the amount you are claiming and effectively you will claim the weekly shortfall of earnings you suffered.

What are the differences between general and special damages?

General damages relate to the direct effects of the accident on the claimant (E.G. Physical pain and suffering) while Special damages make up for out of pocket expenses.

How can I ensure that I recover all of my special damages?

In order to successfully claim special damages, you must be able to prove that you suffered the loss as a result of your accident. The way these expenses are usually proven is by the production of receipts to show payment. If lost wages are being claimed you can have a representative from your employer attend Court to prove the loss. However, if you can clearly prove by the production of papers and receipts that you have suffered a loss of earnings it may be possible to agree on the figure with the other side in your personal injury case. Personal injury claims are calculated by the seriousness of the incident.

It is vital that all receipts for out of pocket expenses as a result of an accident are kept. You can send the receipts to your solicitor as you incur the expenses. This will keep them from getting lost or misplaced.

You’ll receive plenty of letters throughout your case. We suggest you keep all bills and receipts with your letters and review them regularly with your solicitor. This will ensure nothing goes unnoticed!

How do I calculate special damages in my case?

The value of your claim will vary depending on your circumstances. To get a general estimate of your special damages, you simply need to combine the cost of:

  • Medical expenses
  • Estimate future medical expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Estimated future loss of income
  • Travel expenses
  • Any other out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the accident.

Once you have calculated these costs, you can then use the Judicial Council’s personal injury guidelines to help estimate the value of your case. For more information, visit our compensation estimator or speak with one of our personal injury solicitors.

What is the difference between special damages and general damages?

While special damages are generally your out of pocket expenses or financial losses, general damages awarded in a personal injury case are considered to be the non-financial losses. General damages can include:

  • Physical pain
  • Mental pain
  • Pain and suffering
  • Physical impairment
  • Loss of ability to perform certain functions
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of companionship

It can be difficult to estimate these damages as they are specific to every case. The Judicial Council’s personal injury guidelines provide general guidelines as to how much compensation may be awarded in a personal injury claim. These guidelines give us a guide in respect of various injury types, depending on the severity of the injuries and the time period it may take to recover. They do not fully determine the amount of compensation that may be payable. It is advisable to speak with a solicitor for more information.