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What is KnowHow?
Detailed Practice Notes written by our Professional Support Lawyers, guiding you through the key issues in each topic.
Past expenses and losses - overviewRecoverable expenses and losses
A claimant is entitled to recover all expenses and losses reasonably incurred as a result of their injuries. Common examples are loss of earnings, care, medical expenses, transport costs, accommodation costs and miscellaneous expenses.
A claimant is under an ongoing duty to mitigate their losses.
Loss of earnings
A claimant is entitled, subject to evidence in support, to recover their net loss of earnings.
The conventional approach is to calculate the claimant's average earnings by reference to the 13 weeks prior to the accident although a longer period is likely to be required where the claimant's earnings were variable. The net earnings will take into account deductions for tax, national insurance and pension payments.
The loss is the difference between the net earnings and any earnings the claimant received (including statutory sick pay).
Medical expenses and professional care
A claimant is entitled to recover the cost of all medical expenses where they are reasonably incurred. This may include the cost of commercial care where the need is supported by medical evidence.
Provision of gratuitous care and services
A claimant is entitled to recover damages for the value of any reasonable gratuitous care and assistance provided by a friend or relative. Damages for gratuitous care are held on trust by the claimant for the person providing the care and can cover physical nursing and assistance, help with mobility, travel and domestic chores.
The court will normally award gratuitous care at 75% of the standard commercial care rate unless the claimant can justify a higher rate.
In addition to a claim for care, a claimant can recover the cost of any services provided on a gratuitous basis which were reasonably required. Common claims for gratuitous services include claims for DIY and gardening assistance.
Accommodation, aids and equipment
The claimant is entitled to recover the cost of all accommodation, aids and equipment that are reasonably incurred as a result of the claimant's injuries. Where the claimant requires new and altered accommodation, credit must be given for any increase in the value of the property.
Other heads of loss
The claimant may also be able to claim the cost of:
property damage (including motor vehicle damage)
postage, telephone calls etc
Collateral benefits and double recovery
Collateral benefits can include:
criminal injuries compensation
As a general rule, a claimant must give credit for any collateral benefits received. There are a number of exceptions (most notably insurance payments and charitable gifts) and each collateral benefit must be examined separately.
A claimant cannot claim for the same loss twice. This concept of double recovery means that a claimant cannot therefore claim for gratuitous care and the loss of earnings of the person providing that care.
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