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Compensation explained

Compensation is split into three parts, known as ‘heads of damages’. Each part considers what the injured person has already lost, what they might lose or need in the future, and how much they have suffered.

i) General damages

This covers compensation for pain, suffering and the detrimental effect on quality of life – and the courts often calculate the compensation figure using previous cases with a similar injury. The length of time that you are in pain and the effect this will have on your personal life is also assessed. Consideration is given to the unnecessary suffering you will experience – for days, weeks, months or even permanently.

ii) Special damages

This covers compensation for upfront expenses related to the injury and is calculated using a record of expenses incurred – from the moment of the injury until the case has settled. Consideration is given to:

  • Travel expenses
  • Prescriptions and medical treatment
  • Any adaptations required to property
  • Additional care and assistance while injured

iii) Special damages for future loss

This covers compensation for loss of earnings in the future, or for the loss of earning potential, and for future care. It is calculated depending on your ability to work or continue studying – and becomes more complicated if you are in education or self-employed, as there is no fixed income.

Consideration is given to:

  • Nursing care or therapies
  • Special equipment such as prosthetic limbs which need to be replaced every few years
  • The fact that you may no longer be able to perform the same jobs you did before, if you can work at all
  • Missed career or educational opportunities – such as promotions, new projects or other delayed/lost advancement