How Are Personal Injury Damages Calculated?

How Are Personal Injury Damages Calculated?

Ask Esther!

(she doesn’t know either)

Just because something is difficult to put a value on – it wont stop the Court placing a value on it.  It’s a tricky exercise and in order to establish how much compensation is paid to Personal Injury Claimants it is necessary to obtain a full and thorough medical report in most cases.  But I have noticed a surge of websites which tempt you to put the details of your injuries into their ‘damages calculator’ to find out just how much you could be awarded (emphasis on the ‘could’ please) – Indeed no one less than Esther Rantzen encourages you on one site to provide the most basic details of injuries (the part of the body you have injured will suffice) in order to get an on the spot assessment (within 30 seconds!) of how much you could (emphasis on the ‘could’ again please) expect (though naturally the value comes with major caveats stating “NOTE: Values given are only an approximation”) – all good stuff.  Who could you trust more than Esther?

My issue is not with Ms Rantzen – (she has after all done much sterling work with Childline and various misshapen vegetables which resemble 1970s Tory politicians) – but rather my issue is with the manner in which what is a fairly complex exercise – i.e. that of valuing damages for injuries – is used by firms in order to get your contact details.

I’d make it clear though that these sites are doing nothing illegal or fraudulent. Nor are they fundamentally dishonest or intended to mislead – I would suggest though that they are designed with the primary purpose of getting your contact details as opposed to giving you any valuable or in any way accurate information – But that aside...

I bravely took Miss Rantzen up on her challenge – “Take the 30 second test now and find out how much your claim could be worth” (emphasis added) stated a placard photo-shopped into the ‘70s TV icon’s arms on the website – I wanted to know exactly how the Miss Rantzen-endorsed test would value my fictitious post accident ailments so I ticked the box indicating that I had suffered a head injury – click Submit – but unsurprisingly you are not given any indication of how much your (real or fictitious) injuries are worth. Instead you are urged to receive the information by text (which requires you to supply your mobile phone number).  So I was feeling in a cavalier mood and in the interests of research entered my genuine mobile number which is normally kept well away from the internet for fear of charlatans and cheats (gaining access to my online life and accounts through clever use of my mobile number – possibly a little paranoid, I accept).  Charlatans and cheats, the like of which used to regularly feature on That’s Life (showing my age) – and for legal reasons, over and above my deeply held respect for Ms Rantzen, I make it clear that I in no way include Ms Rantzen, the show’s virtuous presenter, in either category of charlatan nor cheat.

On this occasion Esther’s test gave me a valuation of between £9,400 and £31,600 – Hmmmm! – Thanks Esther-endorsed test – most helpful – mind you, they did say ‘could be worth’ (emphasis on the could yet again please).

In Esther’s defence I will acknowledge that the website is full of caveats and reminders in slightly smaller text than the “HOW MUCH COMPENSATION COULD YOU CLAIM?” banner that all valuations are approximate and that all cases are individual etc but why do you need to receive the information by text?  Do I really have to provide a phone number to be given a valuation bracket with a margin of error of £22,400?

Well...

The answer lies in the small print.  Unsurprisingly it is not possible to get a valuation from the Esther-test without providing at least a phone number – although it doesn’t have to be a mobile.  And what do you suppose happens within minutes of receiving your extremely wide, possible, ‘could be worth’ (emphasis on the could) valuation?  That’s right – you get a call to sign you up – almost straight away – gotta admire them – it’s slick.  By this time in the process though I had chickened out and didn’t answer the call.  I do hope it wasn’t the lady herself – no – it wouldn’t be – would it? No – just a thought.

Look – I trust Esther’s legal knowledge as much as the next lawyer, but if you want to find out what you accident is worth – ask a real- life lawyer – apart from anything else (notwithstanding the Jackson reforms) they’re easier to find than iconic TV presenters from the ‘70s and ‘80sYou don’t need to trade your personal information for an opinion – that’s my message.  You don’t have to put up with “agreed to under the terms and conditions actually” telephone calls and texts which you failed to opt out of and which are as much use as a finger in the air when it comes to assessing how much you ‘could’ be claiming for.

If you want a valuation – which is always going to be approximate (though Esther’s test is surely stretching ‘approximate’ to its limits) – give us a call – and if you don’t call us – find someone local to you – you’ll get a personal service and a real life person to talk over the issues and valuation. Just because you get an approximate valuation from a website doesn’t mean they’re going to be the right lawyer for you.  None of the important questions that you should be asking your lawyers are dealt with.  Do you get on with the lawyer who will be in charge of your case?  Can you work with them?  Do you trust them? (as much as you trust Ms Rantzen?)

Right, rant over! – I have a marketing meeting to get to and it looks like I’m going to have to come up with a celebrity to endorse us if the opposition is going to roll out the presenter of That’s Life (which by the way is an anagram of ‘Eats Filth’ – suit yourself...made me chuckle)– Joe Pasquale is spoken for - mind you getting a celebrity on board these days is a risky business – skeletons and closets etc – and anyway who could compete with St Esther of the Comically Misshapen Maris Piper?  Would be grateful for any suggestions...Wonder what Trishia is up to these days?  Maybe not...

Get it right – Go Local When Getting Legal

If you would like a sensible valuation and chat with our real life personal injury team – or if you have a favourite celebrity from the 1970s that you’d like to see fronting an Ad campaign* – give us a call.  (We might ask for your telephone number – but feel free to decline providing it)

01536 276 300

Seatons

The Friendly Professionals

(celebrity endorsement pending)

*must be cheap and at least as trustworthy on legal issues as Ms Rantzen!