Lost Years Claims

Lost Years ClaimsLost years claims are a type of personal injury damages claim. They are brought by living claimants whose life expectancy has been cut short due to the defendant’s negligence. The term ‘lost years’ is used to refer to the years following the claimant’s death during which they would have continued to receive financial benefits, such as income and pension payments, had they lived.

Lost years claims are generally poorly understood and can be incredibly complicated. In some serious personal injury cases, though, such as those involving mesothelioma, they can be a significant and vital component of the claimant’s damages award. Our forensic accountants are recognised experts in the field of lost years claims. We have many years of experience assisting legal practitioners, solicitors and barristers in producing comprehensive, robust calculations in support of their lost years claims.

For assistance call us on 0330 118 8200 or Make An Online Enquiry.

What Is A Lost Years Claim?

Personal injury victims whose accident was caused by someone else’s negligence are entitled to compensation for the financial losses they sustain as a result of the incident. Examples of the heads of damage commonly included in a claimant’s damages claim include loss of earnings, medical expenses, pension losses, and travel costs.

Lost years claims are unique in that they compensate claimants not for actual losses sustained during their lifetime but for future losses following their death. Essentially, a lost years claim is a claim made by a personal injury claimant for money they would have received had their life not been cut short because of the defendant’s negligence. The damages attributed to lost years claims can be substantial and can go some way towards making up for any reduction in compensation occasioned by their reduced life expectancy. The thinking behind lost years claims is that a victim should be compensated for their loss of ability to spend their future income as they choose since doing so is a thing of value.

Lost years claims tend to be brought most often by claimants with terminal illnesses caused by someone else’s negligence. For example, some lost years claims have been brought by individuals who were exposed to asbestos at work and developed mesothelioma as a result. In other cases, delayed medical diagnosis or treatment turned a curable cancer into an incurable one and reduced the patient’s life expectancy. Those patients often include a lost years claim in their medical negligence damages calculations.

How Are Damages Calculated In Lost Years Claims?

Lost years claims can include extremely complex calculations. The claim is seen less frequently than other types of personal injury damages claims, such as straightforward loss of earnings, since the types of injury they arise in connection with are necessarily so severe that they limit the claimant’s life expectancy. As a result, the claims can cause confusion even among the most experienced personal injury practitioners.

Generally speaking, lost years claims usually focus on the claimant’s loss of earnings. Take, for example, a claimant with a life expectancy of 55 due to an illness attributable to the defendant’s negligence. If, were it not for the negligent conduct, the claimant would have worked until retirement at 66 and then lived for another 20 years until they were 86, their lost years claim would include 11 earning years and 20 pensionable years.

However, as with most personal injury damages calculations, lost years claims are not quite that straightforward. Firstly, the sums claimed must be reduced to reflect the fact that, had they lived, the claimant would have incurred day to day living expenses which they would have met out of their earnings. The amount deducted should be the percentage of the claimant’s net earnings spent on maintaining their standard of life. A 50% reduction is often stated as the ‘norm’, but the appropriate percentage in each case is facts specific.

Secondly, lost years claims are not limited solely to the claimant’s lost income. They extend to any financial losses that are reasonably foreseeable. Depending on the circumstances, those losses might include loss of inheritance, loss of company car allowance, medical insurance losses, and loss of savings. However, other types of losses, such as those stemming from investments, are not recoverable.

Accordingly, calculating lost years claims necessitates not only an appreciation of the types of losses that can be included, but also the expertise to produce the necessary calculations. Our forensic accountants, with their decades of experience in personal injury claimant work, have a deep understanding of the legal principles governing damages for lost years claims and the skill set required to produce complicated calculations quickly and accurately. We distil our findings into clear, accessible reports that can be easily understood by everyone involved with the case.

To discover more, please call us on 0330 118 8200 or Make An Online Enquiry.

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