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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10263
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I am currently pursuing a personal injury claim (I was

Customer Question

I am currently pursuing a personal injury claim (I was involved in two rear end collisions where I was the driver in front). Both party's have admitted liability. As a result I was left with a serious back injury. At the time of the first accident I was unemployed but had been accepted and given a starting date for a position as an IT manager for a company with a 35k a year salary. Due to the injuries I was unable to start the position and thus lost the job.
My question is - can my solicitor claim lost salary due to the first accident's injuries and subsequently the second accident two months later which exacerbated my condition? How exactly would this work and what claim could be made ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

Are you now able to work?

How long after the first accident could you or what you able to go back to work?

How long after the second accident?

Please describe the nature of the injury and in particular your ability or inability to work.

What is the solicitor telling you?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, I have been unable to work done the accidents as I have a back injury which also affects my right leg. The pain is extreme and affects concentration, my mental health etc. As well as this I get numbness in my leg and lower body, my balance is terrible causing me to fall a lot and I have terrible headaches etc. I have a PhD in physics and so I am well qualified. I also have an extensive background in computing etcThe first accident occurred in May 2014 and I had been due to start the job midway June. The second accident occurred in July. In the first accident I was hit at approx 50-60mph on the rear passenger side corner of the car which caused me to be thrown forward at an angle. I sustained whiplash as well as an injury to my lower lumbar region. I'm affected as per the symptoms already mentioned. The pain is so bad I cannot even do leisure activities like playing guitar or piano (music was my main hobby). The second accident exacerbated the symptoms already present and caused a lot of intense pain.At present my mood is terribly low since I am now registered disabled with the DWP and am living off disability and unemployment benefit. I'm in constant pain which can get to terrible levels, my mood is low, I'm unable to concentrate properly, my balance is terrible and I often fall, my right leg is always in pain as well as my back and also gets numb to such a level that i could be stabbed in the leg by an object and wouldn't feel it, I get numbness in my lower body etc and the whole thing has just ruined my life.The solicitor is performing ok but we're waiting on reports by both a psychiatrist and doctor.My question is as before - what possibly can be claimed for as far as the loss of employment ?Kind regardsDr Jamie Thomson
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

There are several scenarios here. You will go back to work in a period of time, you will go back to work would not be able to do the job you’ve been doing, you may be permanently disabled are not able to ever do the job you’re doing. Whichever of those applies depend on the evidence.

Unless you can get the medical expert/orthopaedic surgeon to say that as a result of these injuries you’re never likely to do this job again, then the court would take it that you would be able to do the job. Without the medical evidence the whole thing falls over regardless of how you feel. Medical evidence is central.

If you were to go back to work in say, 3 years time, and not be able to work in between, but your loss of earnings would be the loss of earnings, less any benefits, between the accident and when you go back to work.

If you go back to work doing a lesser job or can’t go back at all, then there is an actuarial calculation based upon what are called the Ogden tables which looks at your age now, normal retirement age and then comes up with a multiplier.

They are not particularly easy to follow but as a person with a Physics doctorate you should be able to get your head round them. They are not easy to follow.

this is only in respect of loss of earnings, and nothing to do with pain and suffering which is on top of this. However, when you hear of these million pound payouts, for people with brain damage or having lost limbs, the largest amount of money is because of loss of earnings over a protracted period of time not for the actual injury itself.

What complicates the settlement in your case is the division of liability between the first party and the second party because clearly, the second accident exacerbated the first accident and it would come down to the medical evidence as to your condition immediately before the second accident as to how the 2 were apportioned.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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Best wishes.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank your for answer. One question I do have that may be imperative is what would the scenario be if I had a starting date for a new job (having been accepted etc) and in the experts opinion I was unable to start the job due to my injuries ? I ask this because this is likely to be an important factor. In my view I have been unable to start and maintain a good position solely due to the accident and the employers were unwilling to hold the position for any time until I was well enough to begin work. I wonder how the courts would view this situation ? This is probably the most important factor in the equation as the job market here is sparse at the best of times but the current economic situation would have made it extremely difficult for me to secure a similar position with a similar salary (in this case 35k a year).This would complete my query.Kind regards *****
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

In that case, the salary that you would get would be the salary had you started your new job for a reasonable period until you got a new job. If it had taken you 2 years to get this job, then that period would be 2 years.

If because of the injury you would be unable to do the job ever again would have to take a lesser job, then you are back to the Ogden Tables