Pain, suffering and loss of amenity
Pain, suffering and loss of amenity

The following PI & Clinical Negligence guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Pain, suffering and loss of amenity
  • Valuing the loss
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of amenity
  • Assessing pain, suffering and loss of amenity
  • Judicial College Guidelines (formerly JSB Guidelines)
  • Previously reported cases
  • Simmons v Castle uplift
  • Using the Personal Injury Quantum Database

Valuing the loss

How should an injury be measured in a sum of money? After all no formula can calculate the value of the loss of an arm or of the sense of smell.

A claimant is not compensated for the physical injury itself. They are compensated for the loss suffered as a result of that injury, eg being unable to lead a full life or to exploit their full earnings potential. The legal solution is a pragmatic one: the award for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA) is derived from experience and from awards in comparable cases.

General damages are awarded for physical and/or psychiatric injury and encompass suffering from the past, present and future. One overall sum is awarded although the damages may be divided into two elements:

  1. pain and suffering: this is the subjective experience of the victim

  2. loss of amenity: this is the reduction in the ability to perform everyday tasks

Where a claimant has suffered multiple injuries, the court may provide a breakdown of the PSLA award to show what sum was awarded for each injury or to clarify whether any discount was applied to reflect any overlap in the pain and suffering and loss of amenity caused by the different injuries (see below).

When assessing PSLA certain factors will affect the level of any award including: