Any injury can cause a lot of pain and suffering and substantially impact your work and daily activities. Unfortunately, almost any accident can result in more than one injury, which can significantly increase your recovery times and the long-lasting effects on you and your family.
Some examples of multiple injuries sustained in a severe accident include musculoskeletal, neurological and internal organ damage, which can be associated with psychological trauma. They are commonly sustained in road traffic accidents, accidents at work, falls from height and criminal assaults.
If another party caused your accident by acting negligently, you might be eligible to make a multiple injury claim. If your case is valid, your solicitor will offer you a no win no fee agreement, so you will not incur any out-of-pocket expenses if you do not win compensation for the damages you incurred.
What is a multiple injury claim?
A multiple injury claim is a legal case made after a no-fault accident to recover compensation for a victim who suffered more than one injury. It usually covers the pain and suffering caused by the trauma and any related financial losses and expenses.
It is not uncommon to get away with a single injury after an accident, but more often than not, accidents cause at least two or three different types of trauma. While there is no strict legal definition of what classifies as a claim for multiple injuries, some examples include the following:
- Injuring more body parts in the same incident, such as the head and back;
- Sustaining an injury that causes permanent scarring;
- Suffering psychological or emotional harm such as PTSD, as well as physical trauma;
- An injury or illness that leads to long-term or permanent health complications.
Any type of injury can have a significant impact on your life, and suffering more than one injury due to someone else’s negligence can be particularly distressing. Fortunately, the law is on your side, and if someone else was entirely or partially responsible for your accident, you might be entitled to multiple injury compensation.
Am I eligible to claim multiple injury compensation?
The easiest way to find out whether you could make a multiple injury claim is through a free consultation with a legal adviser. They will ask you a few questions about the circumstances of your accident to verify whether:
- Another person was at least partially responsible for your injuries
- That person owed you a duty of care
- They breached their duty by acting negligently
- You suffered personal injuries and possibly financial losses as a result of this negligence
Usually, there is a three-year time limit to start a claim after an accident, but there are several exceptions to this rule. In certain circumstances, you could also claim multiple injury compensation on behalf of a loved one if they cannot handle their case. You can find more detailed information regarding these matters below.
If your personal injury lawyer believes you have valid grounds to take legal action, they will offer you free support and advice throughout the claims process. To build a strong case, you will also need relevant evidence about how the accident happened and how it affected you, such as:
- Medical records from your GP or the hospital where you were treated about the type and extent of your injuries, treatments received and recovery prospects;
- A report from an independent medical expert that your solicitor will arrange on your behalf;
- Photographs from the accident scene before anything is moved or repaired;
- Photos of any visible injuries and your recovery process;
- CCTV or dashcam footage, if available;
- Accident report forms if you were injured at work or in a public place to prove where and when you suffered multiple injuries;
- Contact details of witnesses that your solicitor could contact later for a statement;
- If you were involved in a road traffic accident, the license plate and insurance details of the other driver;
- Police reports and a crime reference number when necessary;
- Your statement about how the accident occurred and how it affected your life;
- Evidence of all your financial losses, such as payslips, invoices, receipts or bank statements.
Your solicitor will help you gather everything you need to claim and then contact the other party to inform them of your intentions to claim multiple injuries compensation. If the defendant admits liability, you can start negotiating a suitable settlement. Otherwise, you may have to issue court proceedings and argue your case before a judge. However, negotiations continue even if court proceedings are issued, with around 95% of all claims being settled before going to court.
What are the most common causes of multiple injuries?
Almost any accident could lead to a multiple injury claim, but the most common causes of multiple injuries include:
Sadly, road traffic accidents are a common cause of multiple injuries, especially for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorbike riders. The sudden impact of a collision involving a vehicle can cause a wide range of injuries, including:
- Damage to internal organs
- Cuts, bruises and lacerations
- Crush injuries and traumatic amputations
- Head, neck and brain injuries
- Severe sprains, strains and fractures
All road users have a duty to exercise reasonable care for their safety and that of other road users. According to the Road Traffic Act 1988, if another person caused your accident by speeding, careless driving or other negligent behaviour, you might be due multiple injury compensation.
Many different types of accidents at work can lead to a huge variety of multiple injuries, including:
- Manual handling accidents
- Machinery-related accidents
- Electric shocks
- Burn injuries
- Accidents involving hazardous substances
- Forklift truck accidents
- Repetitive strain injuries
All employers are legally obliged to take all reasonable measures dictated by the Health and Safety Executive to prevent accidents in the workplace. This includes carrying out regular risk assessments, providing adequate training and personal protective equipment, and ensuring that all machinery and equipment are safe for use and well-maintained.
Accidents in the military are sometimes unavoidable, especially in direct combat. However, as Ministry of Defence employees, military personnel have the right to a safe working environment, proper training and equipment, and reasonable precautions against injuries.
The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) is a government scheme that pays compensation to military personnel injured on duty, regardless of liability disputes. All current or former UK military personnel, including reservists, can make a personal injury claim through the AFCS if they meet the criteria.
Almost all sports carry some risk of injury, and most sporting accidents are nobody’s fault. However, some accidents can be prevented, and you may be able to make a multiple injury claim if you were injured during a sporting activity due to a variety of causes, such as:
- Lack of adequate protective equipment
- Faulty equipment
- Dangerous ground conditions
- Lack of proper safety procedures
- Inadequate training or instructions
- Bad advice from a coach or trainer
- Poorly maintained gyms, venues or stadiums
You can suffer multiple injuries in any sport, but most claims are related to horse riding, motorsports, winter sports, football and other team sports accidents.
Under the Highways Act 1980 and the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957, the local authorities and private business owners have a legal duty to maintain all public premises safe and in good working order. Failing to do so would make them liable to pay you multiple injuries compensation.
Accidents in public may take many forms and cause a wide range of injuries. Some of the most common incidents leading to a claim include slips, trips and falls, being hit by falling objects, electric shocks, dog attacks and falls from a height.
Most accidents that occur in public places are due to preventable hazards such as slippery surfaces, pavement defects, poorly stacked shelves and objects left in walkways.
Falls from height are the leading cause of fatal injuries in the workplace and a common cause of multiple injury claims. They may also occur in public places or at home due to hazards such as missing handrails, faulty ladders, fragile elevated surfaces, lack of safety nets, or uneven stairs.
If you were injured due to the negligence of another party or a manufacturing defect, you might be entitled to multiple injuries compensation for your pain, suffering and financial losses.
We all trust healthcare professionals to treat an injury or illness and expect them to provide knowledgeable and skilful medical assistance. They are expected to carry out all necessary tests and investigations and obtain informed consent from the patient before undergoing any major treatment or surgical intervention.
Unfortunately, medical mistakes happen and are sometimes due to negligence. These include misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis, medication errors, birth injuries, surgical negligence and anaesthesia complications.
The consequences of medical negligence can be devastating and include amputations, cerebral palsy, nerve damage, chronic pain and permanent scarring. If your doctor provided substandard care, you might be able to make a multiple injury claim against the NHS or private healthcare provider.
Besides multiple physical injuries, a violent crime can cause severe emotional and psychological distress that could change your life forever. Violent crimes include assaults, physical and sexual abuse and intentional hit-and-run accidents.
More often than not, the offender is unidentified, uninsured or cannot afford to pay you injury compensation. However, blameless victims of violent crimes could still claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
Unlike other personal injury claims, you have two years to make a CICA claim, and you must have previously reported the incident to the police to be eligible to make a claim.
How is compensation calculated for multiple injuries?
As a general rule, the compensation in a multiple injury claim is calculated on a case-by-case basis. The general damages for multiple injuries are not, however, calculated by adding the values of each individual injury.
Based on your unique circumstances and how the multiple injuries affect you, the actual award may be:
- Greater than the total awarded for the individual injuries if the multiple injuries caused you more significant pain and suffering than a single injury;
- Smaller than the total awarded for the individual injuries, if their combined effect caused no greater pain than a single injury.
Usually, the most severe injury is calculated first, and an additional amount is added to the figure in respect of each further injury. For example, if you suffer a severe head injury, facial scarring and a moderate back injury, your solicitor will consider the individual amounts for each one to calculate your compensation:
- A severe head injury causing moderately severe damage to intellect – Up to £205,580;
- Severe facial scarring – Up to £38,850;
- A moderate back injury with recovery within two years – Up to £6,300.
Using the above scenario, your solicitor could take into account the upper figure of £205,580 and then add a smaller percentage of the amount calculated for the facial scarring (£20,000) and the back injury (£2,000). Therefore, the compensation for your injuries could be settled at £227,580.
Regardless of your injuries, you can rest assured that your solicitor will work hard to secure the maximum multiple injury compensation you deserve.
How much compensation could I claim?
The number of injuries and their severity can vary considerably from person to person in a multiple injury claim, so it is hard to say precisely how much compensation you will receive. Your solicitor will consider each of your injuries and their overall impact on your life and family to work out a fair settlement.
The final multiple injuries compensation award will take into account the following:
Special damages cover the financial losses and expenses that have resulted directly from your accident and injuries, such as:
- Medical costs like treatments, therapies and medications
- Medical aids like prostheses and wheelchairs
- Costs of adaptations to your home or vehicle to accommodate a disability
- Lost wages, including overtime, bonuses and loss of future earnings
- Travel costs to the hospital and other settings
- Costs of care and assistance, even if provided by a friend or family member
- Counselling and physical therapy to aid with your recovery
- Any other financial losses and expenses for which you should keep documentation, such as pay slips, receipts or invoices
General damages are awarded to compensate you for the physical injuries and how they affected your life, taking into account the following:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental trauma and psychological distress
- Loss of consortium
- Reduced quality of life and life expectancy
- Loss of prospects and enjoyment of life
- Loss of a unique career
- Inability to pursue a hobby or social event
As seen above, your solicitor will take into account the awards for each injury to calculate your final multiple injury compensation. The Judicial College publishes compensation guidelines for specific injuries, which solicitors, insurance companies and Courts use to determine suitable compensation awards. Examples of these guidelines include the following:
- £40,410 to £85,150 for moderate brain injuries requiring little dependency on others
- £12,700 to £25,350 for partial hearing loss or mild to severe tinnitus
- £56,080 to £229,260 for a severe eye injury causing severe visual impairment or blindness in one or both eyes
- £8,480 to £12,650 for a severe nose fracture with permanent effects
- £52,390 to £104,370 for severe fractures or spinal disk damage to the neck
- £24,740 to £171,920 for severe hand injuries that might lead to amputation of one or both hands
- Up to £38,280 for a very severe shoulder injury
- £135,030 to £167,690 for severe or permanent damage to both kidneys
- £22,340 to £37,070 for a knee injury that causes ongoing discomfort and chronic pain
- £43,710 to £67,410 for a very severe leg injury causing long-term or permanent symptoms
- £22,130 to £30,910 for moderate back injuries that require surgery and cause some degree of disability
What is the time limit to make a multiple injury claim?
The Limitation Act 1980 sets the time limit for claiming multiple injury compensation to three years after the accident that caused them. If you fail to meet the deadline, the court will usually no longer accept your case, even if it has merit. A judge can overrule the three-year limitation period when it is fair and reasonable to do so, although this is only done in exceptional circumstances.
In some situations, the three-year countdown begins on the date you found out about your injury or illness. This is usually the date of the accident, but it could also be a later date when a doctor gave you a diagnosis, also known as the date of knowledge.
There are several exceptions to the three-year time limit to bring a multiple injury claim:
- If the victim is a child, a parent, guardian or another litigation friend could start legal proceedings at any time, regardless of when the accident happened. Once the victim turns 18, they will have another three years to take legal action themselves.
- If the victim lacks the mental capacity to handle their case due to the accident or a pre-existing medical condition, the time limit is suspended. The three-year countdown starts only if they regain mental capacity.
- If you were injured while serving in the military, there is a seven-year time limit to claim compensation through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS). You could also begin a multiple injury claim under civil law within the standard three-year time limit.
- If you suffered multiple injuries due to a violent crime, the CICA imposes a two-year time limit to claim compensation.
- If you injured your back due to a faulty product, you could claim multiple injury compensation within ten years of the product launch date.
- If your accident happened abroad, the time limit to start legal proceedings might be much shorter. Your solicitor will be able to let you know what limitation date might apply to a particular foreign country.
As a general rule, you should seek legal advice as early as possible after becoming aware of your injuries. This will give your solicitor plenty of time to collect evidence, talk to witnesses, and prepare a strong multiple injury claim.
How long will a multiple injury claim take?
A multiple injury claim follows the same steps as any other personal injury claim, and there is no inherent reason why it should take longer. No two claims are the same, and how long it will take to receive your multiple injury compensation depends on several different factors, including:
- The type of accident that caused your injuries: a straightforward road traffic accident claim could be settled within a couple of months, while a complex medical negligence claim could take longer than five years to conclude.
- The type and severity of your injuries: if the full extent of your injuries, long-lasting effects and their impact on your life are not yet fully known, it may take years to assess the full extent of your pain and suffering.
- The time needed to gather evidence for your multiple injury claim: if you have little evidence regarding your accident and the injuries you suffered as a result, your solicitor might need several months to gather everything you need to start legal proceedings.
- Whether you know the defendant’s identity: if you were injured in a hit-and-run or criminal assault and you must claim through the CICA or Motor Insurers Bureau, it may take longer to receive multiple injuries compensation.
- The defendant’s position: if the other side admits liability for your injuries, you may begin to negotiate a settlement straight away. If they deny any responsibility for your accident, you may have to argue your case before a judge, which would add a substantial amount of time to your claim.
- Whether you can reach a settlement: if you and the defendant cannot agree on a compensation award, you will need to continue negotiations until you can reach an understanding or take your case to court. If you can agree on a settlement, this will be the last step of the claims process, and you should receive your compensation within four weeks.
The earlier you seek legal advice, the sooner your solicitor can start working on your claim to secure the multiple injury compensation you deserve. To find out if your claim has merit, call 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with an experienced legal adviser. Alternatively, please enter your details into our online claim form to receive a call back and discuss your situation.
Can I claim multiple injury compensation on behalf of a family member?
Usually, it is the victim of an accident who will make the personal injury claim. However, in certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of someone else, acting as their litigation friend. UK law allows you to claim on behalf of a family member if they are:
A child under 18
Victims under the age of 18 are not considered to have well-formed judgements, so they cannot hire a solicitor to pursue multiple injury compensation. Instead, a parent or another family member will usually claim on their behalf.
Although you can claim compensation for a minor, you cannot access their award. Instead, the money will be transferred to a court bank account, where it will gain interest until the victim turns 18. Your solicitor could also help you set up a personal injury trust in their name.
A protected party
According to the Mental Capacity Act 2005, an adult is a protected party who cannot handle their case with or without a solicitor because of the following:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- A neurodegenerative disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease
- An intellectual disability such as Down syndrome
- A mental health condition like schizophrenia
- A traumatic brain or spine injury
If you secure multiple injuries compensation for your loved one out of court, you might also need to attend an Approval Hearing before a judge. They will consider the available evidence to ensure that the settlement agreed between the two parties is fair.
To become a litigation friend on behalf of a loved one, you must fill in and file a certificate of suitability with the court. Before appointing you, the court will ensure that you:
- Can conduct legal proceedings on behalf of the victim in a fair and competent manner
- There is no conflict of interest between you and the victim
As a litigation friend, you will have several responsibilities, including:
- Pay any fees requested by the court
- Attend court hearings
- Make decisions regarding the claim
- Sign legal documents
- Instruct solicitors and take legal advice
- Consider any settlement offers from the defendant
Becoming a litigation friend in a multiple injury claim can be a long-lasting responsibility. Your role will usually end when a child turns 18, a protected party regains mental capacity, or the claim comes to an end.
How much will it cost to make a multiple injuries claim?
If you have solid grounds to claim multiple injury compensation, it will not cost you anything to start your claim. If your solicitor decides to represent you, they will offer you a no win no fee agreement, which means that:
- You can take legal action regardless of your financial situation
- You do not have to pay any upfront fees to your solicitor
- They will offer you free advice and support throughout the claims process
- If your case fails, you do not have to pay a single penny to your solicitor
As part of your no win no fee agreement, your multiple injury solicitor will also take out an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy on your behalf. ATE is a legal expenses insurance that provides full financial coverage for all the legal expenses and disbursements incurred if your case fails, such as:
- The defendant’s solicitor fees
- Court and counsel fees
- The cost of hiring expert witnesses
- Police and medical reports
- Costs of printing and copying
- Travel costs
If you make a multiple injury claim on a no win no fee basis, you only have to pay anything if and after you receive compensation for your pain, suffering and financial losses. The costs deducted from your compensation award are:
- The cost of the After the Event insurance policy
- A success fee to your solicitor
The success fee is paid to your solicitor for the risk they took by offering you a conditional fee agreement, meaning they would be unable to recoup their costs if you lost. The success fee cannot exceed 25% of your award for general damages and past financial losses.