Can I claim loss of earnings as part of a personal injury claim?

If you have had to take time off work due to an injury that was not your fault, how can you ensure you will be compensated for loss of earnings?

General damages and special damages

When making a personal injury claim, you can claim for ‘general damages’ and ‘special damages’.

General damages cover:

  • A reduction in your quality of life
  • Your levels of pain
  • Suffering and trauma as a result of the accident

Special damages cover expenses following your injury, including:

  • Cost of treatment and prescription charges incurred as a result of your injuries
  • Travel costs to and from medical appointments
  • Reimbursement of lost earnings, including overtime and more

Provided it can be  proved successfully that you have been injured as the result of someone else’s negligence, you can pursue a claim for loss of earnings if you have been unable to work as a result of your accident.

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How can I prove a loss of earnings? 

The will depend on whether you are employed or self-employed.

Either way  there will need to be  evidence to back up a claim for loss of earnings, or loss of overtime. If you are employed, you will need to demonstrate:

  • Exactly what you earned leading up to the accident for a minimum of six months (produce your payslips)
  • If you also intend to claim for overtime,  you will need to be able to show that overtime would have been available to you had you not been injured, and that you worked overtime prior to the accident.

Compensation for loss of earnings can then be calculated  by working out your average net monthly wage leading up to the accident, then multiplying this by the length of time you were absent as a result of your injuries. 

Read more about making an injury claim if you are self employed?

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What if I am self-employed?

If you are self-employed or own a business, you should notify your accountant as soon as you can that you are having to take time off work. Keep detailed records of the following: 

  • Any existing contracts you have been unable to complete due to your injuries
  • Any work you have been forced to turn away
  • Invoices demonstrating current earnings to contrast with the period leading up to the accident.

Ask your accountant to provide accounts for the three year period preceding your accident, so that any business losses you incur as a result of the injury can be calculated.

Read more about making an injury claim if you are self employed

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You will also need medical evidence

If, following your accident, , it can be  demonstrated that you  you were well enough to have continued working you will not be compensated for loss of earnings

In order to demonstrate that you were genuinely unable to work, you will need supporting medical evidence.

When you start a personal injury claim, the solicitor will arrange for you to attend a medical.  A medical report will then be compiled in support of your case.

You should however, collate any evidence of medical attention received at the time of the injury as this will help support your claim.

This might include:

  • X-rays
  • Your GP’s report
  • Results of any tests carried out due to your injuries
  • A psychiatric report where necessary

Read more: Will I need a medical exam if claiming compensation?

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If your case is successful, you may also be entitled to…

  • Compensation for future loss of earnings: If your injuries are so severe that you will be unable to work in the future, or will be forced to take a job that pays less.
  • Compensation for loss of perks or benefits: If you were working towards a performance related bonus, but were unable to see it through due to your injuries.
  • Compensation for loss of holiday/sick days: If you had to take these as part of your absence, you may be able to claim each day back as a day’s salary.       
  • Compensation for loss of pension: If your injuries have necessitated a prolonged absence from work to the extent that your pension has been jeopardised. 

Read more: What can I claim for in a personal injury claim?

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Gather as much detail as possible 

Whatever your work situation, it is vital when claiming for loss of earnings that you collate as much evidence to support your claim as you can. 

Keep a diary, keep on top of your paperwork and seek an experienced personal injury solicitor to put as strong a case as possible together for you.

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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

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