How are general damages calculated?

When bringing a successful personal injury claim, there are two elements to the damages that you can recover from the other side. They are known as General damages and Special Damages.

20 Nov 2023

Team name
Holly Minney

Holly Minney

General damages is the element of your compensation that cover the pain and suffering you have incurred as a result of the injuries you have suffered.

The starting point for assessing your general damages is the Judicial College Guidelines, these guidelines set out brackets for the level of compensation that should be awarded for different types of injury.

Factors which need to be considered are; the type of injury, whether a full recovery had been made or if the injury is permanent will surgery be necessary, has the injury caused any disability and has the injury caused worsening of a pre-existing condition.

For instance if you suffered a broken arm the Guidelines provide for the following brackets.

(a) Severe Injuries £96,160 to £130,930
Injuries which fall short of amputation but which are extremely serious and leave the injured person little better off than if the arm had been lost; for example, a serious brachial plexus injury.
(b) Injuries Resulting in Permanent and Substantial Disablement £39,170 to £59,860
Serious fractures of one or both forearms where there is significant permanent residual disability whether functional or cosmetic.
(c) Less Severe Injury £19,200 to £39,170
While there will have been significant disabilities, a substantial degree of recovery will have taken place or will be expected.
(d) Simple Fractures of the Forearm £6,610 to £19,200

Often an injured person will suffer more than one injury at a time, and they could suffer a physical injury and a psychological injury. Where there is more than one injury suffered, we must look at the cumulative suffering caused by those injuries.

The guideline will direct us to an approximate bracket for calculating the value of the general damages, from there we will also need to consider case law, to determine what value the courts have historically placed on an injury of the type suffered.

M&P Commentary

Holly Minney, Head of Dispute Resolution, said:

“The accurate calculation of general damages requires your representative to have extensive experience of dealing with personal injury claims and access to case law databases, without these resources available to you, your claim could be undervalued. Our team have extensive experience of personal injury claims and are able to properly advise our clients on the value of their claims.”


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