Loss of amenity

"Loss of amenity" describes the non-financial impact an injury has on your work, family and social life. It is one of the components of the compensation you will receive.

Personal injury compensation is normally made up of three elements - general damages for the physical or psychological injury you have sustained; special damages for the financial losses you have suffered such as loss of earnings and the cost of medical care; and compensation for your loss of amenity.

Loss of amenity takes into account all the lifestyle limitations that your injuries have forced upon you through no fault of your own. It attributes a financial value to the non-financial things you have lost, such as your hobbies or the ability to socialise with friends.

Examples of loss of amenity

Loss of amenity describes any situation that diminishes a person's quality of life. Examples include:

  • a driver who can no longer play a musical instrument after injuring their hand in a car accident
  • a factory worker who loses his hearing after years of working without ear protection who is no longer able to watch television or converse with his wife or children
  • a recreational golfer who can no longer participate in their favourite hobby after suffering a back injury in a supermarket slip and fall accident
  • a teenager who can no longer use a mobile device to access social media and communicate with their friends following injury in a school sports event.

How is loss of amenity calculated?

Compensation for the impact an injury has on your quality of life is a deeply personal issue. As such, it is difficult to quantify through the usual channels, for example, medical reports, receipts and salary calculations.

Usually, the Court reviews video or photographic evidence that clearly shows how your quality of life has diminished. Family, friends and colleagues may also be called upon to substantiate your claim. A Judge will then assess your situation against previous awards of compensation.

Maximising loss of amenity compensation

The key to getting the most value from a loss of amenity claim is to make a note every time your injury prevents you from doing something that would have formed part of your pre-accident routine.

You should also record any important events that you cannot attend because of your injury, such as a family wedding or funeral. As much as money will not make up for the distress of missing out on such significant events, the Court will attempt to give your disappointment a financial value.

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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Author:
Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher