What is Loss of Amenity in Personal Injury Claims?
The loss of amenity in personal injury claims is one of the four primary factors which are most frequently taken into account to calculate your total injury compensation settlement. Not all of the four apply in every claim, and there may be some personal injury claims in which additional factors have to be taken into consideration.
The four primary factors are:-
- general damages for the physical injuries sustained
- compensation for any calculable emotional trauma you may have suffered
- reimbursement of any financial expenses you could have incurred which relate directly to your injury
- compensation for loss of amenity
If the injuries you have suffered in an accident for which you were not at fault have had a negative impact on your quality of life, you may be entitled to compensation for loss of amenity for personal injuries. This factor of compensation relates to the non-financial restrictions that have been forced on your domestic and social life through no fault of your own.
Some Examples of Loss of Amenity in Personal Injury Claims
There are numerous examples of how a loss of amenity can result from an injury caused by an accident and how it impacts on a person’s quality of life. It is worth noting that loss of amenity can affect two people in very different ways, though they may have sustained an identical injury. For example, take two young women who both break their index fingers in a workplace accident. One plays the violin in her spare time, whereas the other would rather watch TV when she returns home from work.
Although both women would be awarded with similar compensation settlements for the nature and severity of the injury, the violinist has suffered from a substantial deterioration in her quality of life – which although not permanent – should entitle her to a higher sum of compensation for a loss of amenity than the woman who may merely find slight difficulty in operating the television remote control.
Below is a list of where compensation for a loss of amenity may be applicable:
- A telephone engineer who suffers a loss of hearing from not being provided with suitable protective equipment and who can no longer converse with his wife and children
- A child who sustains a hand injury in an incident at school and is unable to use technological equipment, such as a computer, to communicate with his friends, through social media
- A woman who plays gold recreationally who has injured her back in a fall accident in a shop can co no longer play her desired sport
- A mother who suffers whiplash in a rear-end accident and cannot attend her children’s non-academic school activities such as musical recitals and sports days
How Loss of Amenity for Personal Injuries is Calculated
Your physical and emotional injuries will be evaluated by a medical professional to determine their severity, and any costs you have acquired can be confirmed by receipts and invoices; however, it is often not as straightforward to determine compensation for a loss of amenity in a personal injury claim as it is a personal issue and therefore difficult to assign a financial value.
Loss of amenity cannot be measured against an injury claims calculator and any loss of amenity for personal injuries claims may have to be validated by testimonies from family, friends, work colleagues or teachers. In some circumstances, photo or video proof can serve as sufficient justification to support a loss of amenity claim for personal injuries, which would then be evaluated against previous compensation settlements.
Loss of Amenity and the Injuries Board
Applications for loss of amenity in personal injury claims are submitted to the Injuries Board Ireland on Form A via the Internet or by post on hard copy; however there is little opportunity to sufficiently explain how your injury has had a negative impact on your life without the assistance of a legal professional.
Your loss of amenity for personal injuries claim will only be assessed by the Injuries Board with the information you provide them with, and this possibly substantial factor in your whole compensation settlement could be eliminated completely if you are unable to properly communicate the loss of amenity you have experienced. If you believe you may have a potential personal injury compensation claim for loss of amenity, it would be in your best interest to speak with a solicitor and the earliest moment possible.
Offers from Insurers and Loss of Amenity Claims
The insurance company representing the negligent party in your personal injury claim may approach you directly with an offer of early settlement not long after the accident has occurred. These offers are frequently given without regard for the financial implications the victim of the accident may suffer, and typically none at all for their loss of amenity.
You would always be well advised to consult a solicitor if you have sustained an injury in an accident for which you were not to blame before accepting the settlement. Even if you are concerned about your current financial situation, your solicitor should be able to apply for interim payments of compensation until the time when a complete and suitable compensation settlement – including compensation for a loss of amenity – is agreed upon.
Maximising Loss of Amenity for Personal Injuries: Advice
Your best option to maximise the amount of compensation for a loss of amenity in personal injury claims is to keep a diary. You should take note of each time your injury is the reason why you cannot partake in a leisure or sports activity which would have previously formed part of your regular routine. It is also advisable that you record the occurrence of a special event – a significant anniversary or a holiday – that you cannot attend due to your injury. The disappointment at being reluctantly excluded from such an occasion would be allocated a financial value.
It is imperative, therefore, that you discuss the effect that your injury has on your quality of life with an expert personal injuries solicitor who will be able to give advice regarding which areas of your life you could include in a compensation claim for loss of amenity and the amount of compensation you could be entitled to. There may be situations where an on-going exacerbation in the quality of your life can lead to compensation for future loss of amenity – a component of your loss of amenity claim which should be discussed with your personal injury solicitor.