The coronavirus pandemic can impact on personal injury compensation claims both directly and indirectly.
If someone is infected by the virus as a result of another person’s carelessness then they may have a claim against that person or organisation for the illness they suffer as a result. But the impact of the virus on compensation claims may be indirect. People suffering injury in everyday life, on the road or at work, may find that their situation is made a lot worse by coronavirus. In these cases, how does the law treat their claim?
When someone is injured as a result of an accident that was not their fault they are usually entitled to be compensated, not just for their ‘pain and suffering’ but for any financial expenses they incur as a result of the accident. This includes lost earnings, the cost of private medical treatment and any aids or equipment that are needed. It also includes the value of care provided by family members, even though the injured person obviously does not actually pay their partner or relative to help them.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, a huge number of people have been furloughed while their workplaces are closed. This means that insurers will try to reduce lost earnings claims, arguing that if the person could not have worked anyway then their financial loss is limited.
However, if someone would have been able to continue working throughout the pandemic had it not been for the injuries they sustained in the accident then their claim should be unaffected and the amount of compensation they are entitled to may even be increased as a result of coronavirus.
We are currently dealing with a case involving someone who lost his spleen in a motorcycle accident. The issues would be similar for a range of other injuries, such as someone who suffers chest injuries that cause breathing restrictions or someone who has suffered kidney injury leading to loss of kidney function.
The removal of a person’s spleen means that they are vulnerable to infection by Covid-19. People without a spleen have been advised to “shield” during the coronavirus crisis. Not only does this mean being unable to go to work, even if their workplace is still up and running, but not going grocery shopping or taking outdoor exercise. In addition, people who are shielding are advised to keep their distance from family members, use separate bathroom facilities if possible and, if not, to clean the bathroom after each use.
In this particular case we are claiming additional compensation for:
- Lost earnings for the period spent shielding;
- The time spent by loved ones cleaning at home;
- The time spent by loved ones doing the shopping and collecting medication; and
- The psychological impact of the additional isolation and worry.
So, the coronavirus epidemic is resulting in the amount of compensation people are entitled to receive being increased, even if their injuries were not caused by Covid-19.
If you are suffering additional hardship during lockdown as a result of injuries sustained in an accident please or want guidance on coronavirus and personal injury compensation, do not hesitate to contact our free phone helpline on 0333 888 0404 or email us at [email protected]