Loss of or damage to senses can be restricted to one particular sense, e.g. loss of one eye or total blindness or loss of the sense of smell. However, very often damage to senses can be caused by other injuries. In such cases damages are likely to be viewed as “multiple injuries” awards.
Whether the injury is one that has an immediate effect of causing one or more of the disabilities above or whether the same occurred over a period of time, e.g. in noise exposure cases.
Whether the injury / disability is one that the Plaintiff has suffered at an early age with the result that the same has had an effect upon his speech or if it is one that he has suffered in later life.
The higher end of the range will be appropriate where there is a high level of tinnitus with hearing loss and psychological sequelae. In very severe cases the level of damages is likely to exceed £70,000 though care should be taken not to overcompensate the plaintiff if damages are also awarded for psychiatric injury brought on by the tinnitus.
The higher end of the range will be appropriate in cases of total loss of smell with a significant loss of taste. Total loss of smell nearly always leads to some loss of taste. The damages in this category will reduce the greater the plaintiff’s residual sense of smell and taste.
A plaintiff who suffers from a loss of sense of smell will normally suffer a loss of a sense of taste. See above. In a case where the plaintiff falls to compensated for a loss of a sense of smell on its own the upper range figure would be appropriate in a case of a total loss of the sense of smell. The damages will diminish the greater the residual sense of smell.
£28,000 – £50,000
Loss of Taste
In a case where the plaintiff falls to compensated for a loss of a sense of taste on its own the upper range figure would be appropriate in a case of a total loss of the sense of taste. The damages will diminish the greater the residual sense of taste.
£20,000 – £35,000
INJURIES TO INTERNAL ORGANS
This is an especially difficult area because the vast majority of cases relate to industrial disease (dealt with in para. B below) as distinct from traumatic injury and the level of the appropriate award for lung disease necessarily reflects the prognosis for the future and / or the risks of development of secondary sequelae (such as mesothelioma). When assessing claims it must be borne in mind that particular injuries may not fit neatly within the following categories and the appropriate damages may lie somewhere between the ranges.
(a) Most serious cases
These will include cases involving the removal of one lung with considerable pain and discomfort.
£150,000 – £200,000
(b) Traumatic injuries to the chest involving the lung(s) and/or heart causing permanent damage and impairment of function, physical injury and reduction of life expectancy.
the degree, nature and duration of breathing difficulty
the degree, nature and duration of physical discomfort
the impact on quality of life
the long term prognosis.
The lower end of the range reflects some minor residual damage of short duration. The upper end reflects more long term residual though not serious sequelae. Where the sequelae are more serious and/or more long term the damages will fall to be assessed by reference to the figures in (c) above.
£5,000 – £20,000
(g) Fractures of ribs or soft tissue injuries causing serious pain and disability over a period. The award will depend (inter alia) on the number of ribs involved, the degree and duration of the pain and discomfort and the prognosis. Long term or permanent pain will attract an award in excess of the upper figure in the range.
Up to £15,000
Pleural thickening with functional impairment. This is a final award to include the risk of subsequent developments adversely affecting the respiratory condition such as further pleural thickening, asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer.
£21,000 – £42,000
Minimal to mild asbestosis with at most slight impairment of function and quality of life. Award on a full and final basis to include future risks of deterioration and asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer.
£28,000 – £50,000
Moderate to severe asbestosis with considerable impairment of function and quality of life. Award on a full and final basis to include all future risks of deterioration, mesothelioma and lung cancer.
£40,000 – £85,000
Lung cancer or mesothelioma where death within a few years of trial is inevitable.
£70,000 – £130,000
Occupational asthma with impairment of function and quality of life.
£28,000 – £58,000
Aggravation of a pre-existing, constitutional Asthma.
£14,000 – £42,000
Bronchitis or Chronic Obstructive Airways Disease.
£7,000 – £28,000
Mild respiratory conditions (usually resulting from unfit housing or similar exposure, particularly in cases of young children) treated by a general practitioner and resolving within a few months.
Up to £7,500
It is to be noted that the risk of associated damage to the reproductive organs is frequently encountered in cases of this nature and requires separate consideration.
Serious damage with continuing pain or discomfort
£35,000 – £80,000
Serious non-penetrating injury causing long-standing or permanent complications, e.g. severe indigestion, aggravated by physical strain.
£20,000 – £35,000
Penetrating stab wounds or industrial laceration or seat belt pressure cases.
£7,000 – £20,000
Illness/Damage Resulting from Non-traumatic Injury, e.g. Food Poisoning. There will be a marked distinction between those, comparatively rare, cases having a long-standing or even permanent effect on quality of life and those in which the only continuing symptoms may be allergy to specific foods and the attendant risk of short-term illness.
Severe toxicosis causing serious acute pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and fever, requiring hospital admission for some days or weeks and some continuing incontinence, haemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome, having a significant impact on ability to work and enjoyment of life.
£50,000 – £175,000
Serious food poisoning, diarrhoea and vomiting diminishing over two to four weeks but leaving residual discomfort for a protracted period.
Food poisoning causing significant discomfort, stomach cramps, alteration of bowel function and fatigue. Hospital admission for some days with significant symptoms lasting for some time but complete recovery within two years.
£6,000 – £17,500
Varying degrees of disabling pain, cramps and diarrhoea continuing for a short period of time.
The assessment of damages in this category requires a careful consideration of the differing issues of (a) loss of or interference with sexual function (b) loss of libido (c) loss of fertility (d) incontinence and the impact these have on the quality of the plaintiff’s life. The range of injuries involved may include total loss of or serious damage to the genitals, physical scarring, psychiatric damage including depression (often associated with infertility and loss of sexual pleasure and function), loss of amenity, interference with, serious damage to or destruction of personal relationships. The factors which will be relevant will include the age of the plaintiff and whether he or she has children or planned to have children or more children. The damages payable to a young person without children will be likely to be at the upper end of the range particularly where the loss of sexual function is complete and untreatable. In the case of infertility amounting to little more than an insult (e.g. where the plaintiff has no intention of having children or is past child bearing years the damages may be in the region of £10,000 - £15,000). Damages may be awardable in addition for e.g. scarring or psychiatric damage.
(a) Loss of genitals. Total loss will be towards the top of the range
Up to £200,000
(b) Impotence and loss of sexual function
Up to £150,000
Up to £100,000
(a) Injuries rendering sexual intercourse painful and unpleasant combined with loss of libido and infertility
Serious and permanent damage to or loss of both kidneys.
£140,000 – £210,000
Where there is significant risk of future urinary tract infection or other total loss of natural kidney function. Such cases will invariably carry with them substantial future medical expenses which, in this field, are particularly high.
£62,000 – £100,000
Loss of kidney with no damage to the other.
£30,000 – £45,000
Total loss of natural function and dependence on colostomy.
£100,000 – £175,000
Impaired function with continuing problems and accidents and embarrassment.
£50,000 – £85,000
(c) Severe abdominal injury causing impairment of function and often necessitating temporary colostomy (leaving disfiguring scars) and/or restriction on employment and on diet.
£50,000 – £75,000
(d) Penetrating injuries causing some permanent damage but an eventual return to natural function control.
£14,000 – £42,000
Complete loss of natural function and control.
£105,000 – £140,000
Impairment of control with some pain and incontinence.
£42,000 – £82,500
Where there has been an almost complete recovery but some fairly long-term interference with natural function.
The cancer risk cases still occupy a special category and can properly attract awards at the top of the range even where natural function continues for the time being. Once the prognosis is firm and reliable the award must reflect the loss of life expectancy, the level of continuing pain and suffering and most significantly the extent to which the Plaintiff has to live with the knowledge of the consequences which his death will have for others.
£17,500 – £35,000
Present medical opinion suggests that this organ is more important throughout life than was previously thought.
Loss of spleen where there is a continuing risk of internal infection and disorders due to the damage to the immune system.