How We Assess General Damages for Pain, Suffering and Loss of Amenity

This is generally done by way of obtaining independent specialist medical evidence, often supported by statements from yourself, your family, friends or colleagues. We like to obtain a “before and after” picture, that is to say what your life was like before the accident, and how (if at all) it has been affected since. Family, and friends or work colleagues who have known you for some time, are likely to be best placed to give an insight into this.

With regard to the medical evidence, what will normally happen is that we will initially obtain all of your medical records from your GP and from any hospital at which you have received treatment. At an appropriate time, and we will advise you of when this is, we will obtain a report from a suitable doctor who is a specialist in your field and who has not been responsible for your treatment. He will be entirely independent.

In many cases, it is likely that the Defendant’s will also wish to obtain their own medical evidence, and they will also wish to obtain your medical records to consider, and to pass to their own consultant. They (and we) may also need to obtain your work related personnel &/or occupational health or other records, as this can be relevant both to injury and losses.

The consultant in question will look at your medical records, and then examine you, before writing a report setting out the nature of your injury, your progress and treatment, your current situation, give a diagnosis, and prognosis for the future. He will also deal with “causation” – that is linking the injury to the accident, and not other causes.

The type of doctor required will depend upon the nature of your injury. Sometimes reports from various different types of doctor will be necessary, especially in a more serious injury case.

It is highly important that you be entirely honest both with us and with your medical expert. Never exaggerate:- for example, do not say that you cannot do something, if what you actually mean is that if you do certain things, you suffer too much pain after and therefore avoid it. If however you can walk to the end of the road, but only do so by holding onto a fence or a colleague, and then have to stop and rest before returning, say exactly that. Do not under play your problems, but do not overstate them either. Obviously, if you really cannot walk at all, then it is appropriate to say so.

Also, some days may be better than others for you. If that is so, then say so very clearly, but explain exactly what is a good day, and what is a bad day. Make sure your medical examiner understands clearly what you say. NEVER answer the question without thinking about it carefully.

(NB: There is a more detailed link under [“What do I tell the Doctor”] ).