Pain, suffering and loss of amenity
This figure is decided by the judge. There is no arithmetical calculation, but he makes his decision on the basis of his experience and is guided by previously reported cases involving similar injuries. Judges also have available to them a book published by the Judicial Studies Board, which sets out tariffs of compensation for different categories of injury, including serious spine and brain injury. This can be used as a general guide to gauge whether the figure the judge has in mind seems appropriate.
Maximum awards are in the region of:
- £260,000 for tetraplegia with complications.
- Between £180,000 and £235,000 for tetraplegia.
- Between £130,000 and £165,000 for paraplegia.
Note: Much depends on life expectancy and associated disabilities.
The range of awards of compensation for brain damage is much wider, because there is not the same categorisation available; the most severe brain damage will lead to the same level of compensation as tetraplegia.
A recent report looking at the costs of funding personal injury litigation ('The Jackson Report') has suggested damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity should be increased and that claimants are currently undercompensated. Whether that suggestion will come to anything, only time will tell but the current position is unlikely to change for the foreseeable future.