£4,000 awarded to claimant with a tongue injury
On 13 April 2000 at the Kingston upon Hull County Court a thirty-eight year old housekeeper brought a claim against East Riding District Council arising out of a road traffic accident three years previously. The claimant's vehicle was stationary when it was hit at the back by an employee of the Council who was on Council business at the time, and a result of she brought a claim against these defendants.
As a result of the accident she suffered a whiplash injury to her neck and lower back and also an impact injury to her chest and right shoulder. In addition to this, she bit into her tongue and as a result she had to go to hospital where three stitches were inserted.
Her mouth became swollen as a result of the laceration and for a week she had trouble eating.
Although the symptoms got better, by the time the case came to trial, which was over three years later, she was still occasionally conscious of the tongue injury and, indeed, there was occasional clicking in the neck and every so often she still had pain in her lower back and shoulder.
The injuries were so severe that she was unable to work for five months or drive a car for two months.
At the trial the Judge awarded her £4,000 for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
On today's figures, taking into the increase in the Retail Price Index, the claim would be worth just over £6,000.
The damage for the injury to the tongue would have been valued in the region of £1,000 to £1,500.
The Court calculates the amount of compensation for pain and suffering based on the seriousness of the injury. There is no definitive formula, but the general rule is that the more painful and the longer the injury lasts then the greater the compensation.
In this particular case, at trial the claimant was still suffering symptoms as a result of the accident and therefore the Court would rely on expert medical evidence for a final prognosis.
One issue for a claimant and their solicitor is to decide in cases such as these is whether or not they want to settle the claim based upon the prognosis of the expert or whether they want to wait until the symptoms have finally resolved. Many claimants are anxious to settle their claim but they must always bear in mind that they cannot go back for further compensation should the symptoms continue beyond the date by which the expert thought that they would have resolved.