Most people barely know how medical claims payouts work.
We write a weekly blog post to shed some light on issues surrounding the topic of personal injury, negligence in the medical world and how you can claim if you suffer harm.
Do you know how a claim is calculated and that any payment you received won’t be taxed?
Just like most parts of a personal injury claim – the *getting paid* part is unknown to most people.
Therefore, we wanted to write about the things you might not know about the payment process just so you know.
Before we dive in, please know that…
Our experienced medical medical negligence lawyers in Manchester will always try to get the maximum payout for you.
Obviously, all good lawyers will have this as their goal. We are no different in that respect. This has gone wrong for other companies in the past though as you will find out in a case example given below.
Let’s have a look at some things you might not know about the getting paid process then. Feel free to call us to clarify anything if you have an upcoming case.
1. How your compensation could be calculated
Let’s look at how your compensation claim is usually calculated and how you determine pain and suffering when it can’t be quantified, like emotional damage.
Here’s our summary of a few different ways payouts can be made:
The Multiplying Method
Damages are split into two categories. These categories are…
A. The amount of income you have lost.
B. All other expenses incurred to the injured person (travel, health, care).
This method looks to multiply the total sum of the different damage totals together.
If you lost £20,000 in income and paid out £5,000 in medical, care and travel bills, you would add these totals together.
Now we have £25,000.
Now we multiply this total (£25,000), usually by a number between 2 and 4.
This method is being used less and less as it is particularly unscientific.
Instead, clever software is used to determine how much the damages together (£25,000) should be multiplied by.
Generally speaking – a more damaging case (let’s say broken bones and concussion was involved) might look more towards the 3x/4x range (leading to a £75,000-£100,000 total).
While a less damaging case (bruises, cuts, damages that heal within a couple of weeks) might only multiply the damages together by 1.5x/2x (leading to a ~£35,000-£50,000 total).
The last determining factor how the multiplier is decided also depends on individual circumstances.
For example, if you were partly to blame for your injury, you could expect the multiplier to be lower than if you were not at fault at all.
Similarly, if the perpetrator did something to aggravate the circumstances in which they harmed you (like be on alcohol and drugs, thus having to accept more responsibility), your multiplier might be higher.
The other method used to calculate pain and suffering is the ‘daily rate’. First you quantify the amount of daily suffering you are having (usually in the form of income and a few other factors), which could amount to £300. Then you multiply £300x the amount of days it has taken you to recover and work again.
2. But what about damages that CAN’T be quantified?
Not all damages are easily counted and multiplied. How about psychological, mental and emotional damage?
Watch this Youtube video on arguing damages for a personal injury trial where lawyer Allen Browning explains how the lawyer has to come up with a compensation number and put forward a case to encourage that number being selected in settlement agreements/court.
He gives a couple of court case stories where the defending lawyer asks the jury what they think the damages could be.
The scenario is horrible, a lady has been scalped at her factory job, she has £350,000 for her medical bills already and the lawyer asks the jury to come up with a number for her psychological suffering!
The lady could not even wear a wig… Obviously she deserved something.
The jury does not know what to award her though so nothing is awarded.
Allen goes on to give another example just like the scalping example and explains:
– It is the job of the personal injury lawyer to figure out how much you should be paid for your suffering and convey that message clearly to the jury to decide on.
But how does the lawyer reach this conclusion?
This is another part of compensation calculating that is particularly abstract and unscientific.
As Dolman law raise in this pain and suffering damages article, the best thing you can do is open up to your solicitor so that we can understand how your pain and suffering transfers into your life now and moving forward.
The clearer and less abstract your reasoning is, which we explain to the jury, the harder it will be for the defending solicitors to shoot down our claim.
The defending solicitors are simply trying to win their case for their client so we need to build up a real and convincing picture in order to provide a winning argument
This is one that not many people ask us about. It should probably get mentioned more.
3. Compensation claims are often not taxable at all.
Compare two people. Both have earned £300,000. One made it through a year’s worth of income in a software company (taxable) and the other made it through a personal injury claim.
The income guy could be sitting at around £180,000 after paying his whopping 40% income tax.
What about personal injury guy? He has the full £300,000 in his bank account!
So, income guy gets paid on the way in… Meaning he pays taxes when the money comes IN to him…
Then both income guy and compensation guy have to pay when money goes OUT (for example: VAT etc.).
Income guy gets taxed twice and compensation guy only gets hit once. £300,000 to £180,000 is a vast difference consideration software income guy worked for a year and ended up with £180,000, because his income is heavily taxed.
4. Get some of your legal costs back!
It can be possible that you are entitled to more money than you originally thought with your claim.
Essentially, if there is a threshold on the amount you can win in your case, you could be entitled some more money, usually coming from the legal fees.
This law differs from country to country and case to case. This is the kind of thing you now know to raise as and when you first get involved in a case.
5. Bills are paid for!
If you have to fork out any of your own money for any kind of medical expense (seems unlikely) – part of your claim will ensure any of these costs are covered by the claim.
This will be included within your compensation.
This goes for any payments you had to make while the case was still developing. Additionally, any future medical bills will also be accounted for.
So don’t worry, it’s not like being across the pond where you are paying for your health. Unless you are reading this in the future and we have unfortunately done away with our ‘free’ healthcare!
6. There is no minimum or maximum you can win
Don’t be afraid that your case won’t pay you anything. You just don’t know until you enquire. It’s free!
Any sized claim can be made and there is no minimum threshold to go for a claim.
What you might think is a minor case could be multi-faceted and win more money than you expect.
Either way, why risk NOT pursuing a case if the suffering you have sustained could lead to monetary expenses and health problems.
7. You don’t have to accept the settlement offer you get
Although most people settle outside of court, there are good reasons to take the claim to court.
If the settlement you are being offered is way out of the ballpark you are expecting, it could be the other side do not accept liability which you think they are responsible for.
Their settlement offer is coming from a different viewpoint, so their settlement fee isn’t close to your idea of a realistic payout.
If this cannot be negotiated outside of court, going to a court is a good way for a third party to resolve the issue.
That’s all of them for now…
You now know how a payout is calculated as well as some other practical information about the payout process for medical negligence cases.
Please feel free to add any other interesting or seemingly unknown facts about this process!
We will be back next week with some another write-up about the negligence space.