Judicial College guidelines for personal injury compensation

When assigning a financial value to the pain and suffering an injury has caused, personal injury lawyers refer to guidelines laid down by the Judicial College.

Personal injury compensation is made up of two types of damages: general damages for the actual injuries themselves, and special damages for the financial losses that result from those injuries (medical costs, personal care costs, loss of earnings and so on).

The "Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases" published by the Judicial College (JCG) is a guide that helps legal professionals determine the financial value of a general damages claim.

What are general damages?

General damages are intended to compensate a claimant for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity their injury has caused. They reflect the impact an injury has on the claimant's life including, for example, the loss of hobbies or a career. However, it is incredibly difficult to ascribe a financial value to something that no amount of money can compensate. Is a broken arm worth more or less than an amputated toe? Which deserves greater compensation, loss of hearing or loss of taste and smell?

To help claimants get a rough idea of the type of award they might expect to recover, the Judicial College has produced guidelines covering everything from lung disease to chronic pain. The guidelines describe the injury and indicate the amount of general damages an injury with that description should receive.

How much will I receive?

Compensation ranges from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds depending on the type and severity of the injury. For example, a minor hand injury receives general damages ranging from £737 to £3,509 under the JCG, while claimants with quadriplegia can expect to receive between £262,350 and £326,700 depending on the age and former lifestyle of the claimant.

For people with serious injuries, general damages may offer no more than a token award. In many cases, the bulk of a personal injury claim is made up of special damages, particularly where the injury is life-changing.

It is also worth remembering that the Judicial College Guidelines are exactly that - a guide. Each case turns on its particular facts and appropriate medical evidence.

The "plus 10%" rule

The main thrust of modern personal injury law is to get claims settled as quickly and efficiently as possible without going to Court. To encourage the parties to settle out of Court, claimants are awarded an extra 10% on top of the JCG tariff if the defendant later fails in Court to beat a claimant's offer to settle the claim.

How much in general damages could I claim?

The Quittance Injury Claims Calculator estimates both the general damages and special damages that your claim could be worth.

To discuss your options with a solicitor or to start your claim, call our team on 0800 612 7456 now or request a callback.

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.

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