Quantifying the Unquantifiable

How do you value the quality of life when it comes to personal injury litigation ?

To those of you unfamiliar with Personal Injury law, you may not be aware that the philosophy underpinning the concept of compensation is to return the injured party as far as possible to the position they would have been in had they not been injured by the negligent tortfeasor.  

In purely financial terms, this is usually not difficult.  Past financial loss such as lost wages, can be assessed relatively easily.  So too can out of pocket expenses. Calculation of future  financial loss can be more difficult, but achievable with good expert medical evidence, witness statements, and actuarial and statistical evidence.

Compensation for the injury itself, (pain, suffering and loss of amenity) is a more nebulous concept, and an assessment of such loss is not one achieved by the use of mathematical, actuarial or statistical calculation.

But how can litigation  improve the quality of life of a person left permanently injured by the negligence of another party?   This is a challenge that makes it essential that the injured  Claimant is represented by a Specialist Legal Advisor with experience and accreditation in this demanding area of law. 

Usually an accreditation with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers  (APIL) is a good indicator, as is personal recommendation and the testimonials of those seriously injured.   

Such an advisor would have knowledge of the right experts to instruct and be conversant with the suitability of aids and equipment, with or without the assistance of an appropriate Case Manager.   

Such an Advisor  would need to identify the needs of a claimant in terms of therapy, rehabilitation, case management and aids and equipment.

The NHS might provide some of these, but such resources are rationed or if given, often withdrawn due to budgetary restrictions. There are long waiting times and what aids and equipment are available are generally basic, limited in function and are not state of the art.  

These considerations do not apply to a Claimant who can prove his or her claim. 

Consequently so long as the Claimant can establish liability and demonstrate the need for equipment and treatment, there can be no objection on the grounds that a cheaper alternative piece of equipment is available, so long as that which is proposed is demonstrably reasonable.   

With the rapid development of scientific knowledge in the fields of assistive technology, prosthetics and orthotics, those injured can now face the future with greater optimism, secure in the knowledge that therapeutic treatment  and rehabilitation, working alongside technology to maximise their potential to regain their personal integrity, the return to paid employment and/or independent living. 

In the final analysis whilst these benefits are not quantifiable in monetary terms their valuation is nevertheless, priceless to the individual affected.  

Nigel Smith

Head of Serious and Catastrophic Injury Law

Clear Law 




0161 873 2756