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Ask The Legal Experts: Road Traffic Accidents & Loss of Earnings

View profile for Claire Goldsworthy
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In this article JCP Director and Head of Injury Services Claire Goldsworthy advises a farm worker about a personal injury claim.

I was involved in a traffic accident while on my way to work as a farmhand. I sustained a broken leg so I am going to be out of action for some months.  Can I claim damages for loss of earnings?

Clearly your injuries will lead to you taking time off work and you will suffer associated loss of earnings, so yes – you are entitled to make a compensation claim.

A personal injury claim is divided onto two parts – General Damages and Special Damages. General Damages refers to the pain, suffering and loss of amenity and Special Damages refers to financial losses that you have incurred or will incur as a direct result of your accident and injury.

Those Special Damages might include loss of net earnings, loss of overtime, travel expenses incurred – for instance to and from hospital – medication costs, and other medical expenses that have been reasonably incurred as a result of the accident.

In the majority of claims, medical treatment is offered on the NHS and therefore no financial loss is likely to be incurred.  However, in some situations medical expenses may arise – for instance if you pay for some medical treatment such as physiotherapy, osteopath, hydrotherapy etc.

If you, as the injured party, use private medical insurance to cover private treatment and surgery your private medical provider will want to reclaim any costs incurred.  You may also be able to claim for damaged clothing or for reasonable care and assistance costs if you have been aided in daily care by friends, family or by a professional carer.

I would advise you to consult a legal specialist about the precise circumstances and details of your case before you take any formal action.

Claire is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel and the Spinal Injuries Association. An active YFC member for many years, Claire has a keen interest in agricultural and rural affairs.

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