Multiple Injuries Compensation Claims
This article looks at how the multiple injuries claims process differs from a single injury claim.
If you have been involved in an accident that caused you to suffer multiple injuries, you may be able to claim compensation for each of your injuries.
However, the process for assessing the amount of compensation you can claim for multiple injuries is complex.
Your solicitor will ensure all your injuries are correctly assessed to recover the full compensation you need to fund your recovery and rehabilitation.
What are the statistics?
Quittance Legal Services carried out a survey of 40,000 claimants. The survey revealed that over 40% of personal injury claimants experienced more than one injury in a single accident.
This figure is concerning, as multiple injuries tend to be associated with more serious accidents, and particularly road accidents involving vulnerable road users.
How does the law define "multiple injuries"?
There isn't a strict legal definition of "multiple injuries". Generally speaking, you are likely to have sustained multiple injuries if you suffered:
- more than one injury or illness to more than one part of the body.
- an injury that has then left a scar.
- in addition to a physical injury, a psychological injury such as post-traumatic stress.
- an injury or illness that has then caused a long-term health condition or other complications.
Do I have a multiple injury claim?
If you were over 18 years old when you were injured, you should be eligible to make a compensation claim if your injuries happened:
- in the last 3 years, and;
- someone else was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
What if a child was injured?
The 3-year rule does not apply to minors.
A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a multiple injuries claim on their own behalf.
What if I can't prove who caused my injuries?
Your solicitor will work on your behalf to assess your injury claim and gather evidence. They will identify the party responsible for your accident.
What if I was diagnosed months after the accident?
Depending on the context of your injuries, the three-year time limit may only start from the date you are diagnosed and learn of the cause of your injuries. In some cases, this can be months or years after the cause occurred.
How much compensation can I claim?
The amount of money you could claim for multiple injuries will depend on:
- the type and severity of your injuries,
- the effect the multiple injuries have has on your life, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.
This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What special damages can I claim for? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?
If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.
The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with an additional amount applied for the other less severe injuries.
Multiple injuries example:
General damages for a serious back injury could be around £30,000.
For a minor shoulder injury, you would typically receive £5,200.
However, if you suffered both a serious back injury and a more minor shoulder injury, you would typically receive £30,000 + a smaller percentage of £5,200.
How do the courts calculate multiple injuries compensation?
The general principle is that compensation for multiple injuries is calculated on a case-by-case basis. The actual award may be more or less than the sum total of what would be awarded for the individual injuries, depending on the overall impact on a claimant's life.
In a key Court of Appeal decision on multiple injuries compensation, Lord Justice Sir Christopher Pitchford said:
"It is always necessary to stand back from the compilation of individual figures... to consider whether the award for pain suffering and loss of amenity should be greater than the sum of the parts in order properly to reflect the combined effect of all the injuries upon the injured person’s recovering quality of life or, on the contrary, should be smaller than the sum of the parts in order to remove an element of double counting."
Pitchford LJ added:
"In some cases, no doubt a minority, no adjustment will be necessary because the total will properly reflect the overall pain, suffering and loss of amenity endured. In others, and probably the majority, an adjustment and occasionally a significant adjustment may be necessary."
How will the overall effect of my injuries affect the total compensation?
The total award for a multiple injuries compensation claim will not be less than the total award for the most serious injury a claimant has suffered. However, the multiple injuries total may only be slightly more if the effect of the other injuries on a person's life is minimal.
If the effect of multiple injuries on someone's life is significant, the award will reflect this. The award may be considerably greater if a claimant's multiple injuries collectively affect their quality of life much more than if they had sustained the injuries individually.
Multiple injury compensation calculator
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for multiple injuries can be complicated.
Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.
Find out what your multiple injury claim could be worth now:
How long does a multiple injuries claim take?
There is no inherent reason why a multiple injuries claim should take longer, but it will depend on the facts of the case. Delays could occur if:
- The defendant disagrees with how the total compensation amount is calculated.
- The full extent of your injuries and/or the impact on your life is not yet known.
If liability is accepted, a straightforward multiple injury claim could be settled in a couple of months. If liability is denied, the process can take longer. Typically, an injury claim takes between 4 and 9 months, although clinical negligence claims take often take longer to complete.
Multiple injuries from work accidents
If you have suffered multiple injuries in a workplace accident, you should be entitled to claim compensation.
According to Quittance’s recent survey, 29% of work accident claims involve multiple injuries. Reasons why workplace multiple injury claims are less common than the overall average for personal injuries of 43% include:
- Work injuries caused by a defective tool or faulty protective equipment (PPE) may affect only a specific part of the body.
- Work-related illness claims usually relate to specific conditions, such as RSI, carpal tunnel and hand-arm vibration syndrome.
Multiple injuries from road accident claims
63% of road accident claimants report they suffered multiple injuries, according to our recent survey.
Due to the traumatic nature of collisions on the road, road accident claims for multiple injuries are common.
Vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, can sustain multiple, serious injuries in an impact with even a slow-moving vehicle.
Drivers and passengers, although less at risk of serious injury, are still likely to suffer multiple injuries including neck, back and shoulder injuries, wrist fractures and post-traumatic stress.
Read more:Claiming road accident compensation
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.
Less than 5% of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.
Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.
No win, no fee
With a no win, no fee agreement (known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make an injury claim without having to pay upfront legal fees. If your injury claim is unsuccessful you won't have to pay any money to your solicitor.
No win, no fee - our guarantee
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is no financial risk in making an injury claim, even if you don't win your claim.
What do I pay if I win my injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my injury claim?
If your injury claim is not successful then you will not have to pay any legal fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
How we can help you
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open:
- 8am to 9pm weekdays
- 9am to 6pm on Saturday
- 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
- Find out
if you can claim
- No obligation
to start a claim
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?
Yes. You may still be able to claim compensation even if your actions may have contributed to the accident.
However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.
How long do I have to make an injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an injury after 3 years?
Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.
However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.
If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.
There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
I need the money now - what are my options?
If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.