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Personal injury

Discount rate – change

The change in the discount rate from 2.5% to -0.75% will vastly increase the pay-outs in serious injury cases. For instance, a 25-year-old with a moderate brain injury awarded £100,000 for life would previously have been awarded £3.1m, but with the change to the Ogden rate this would now be £8m. Similarly:

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Credit hire – spot rates

In Stevens [2015] the CA gave clear guidance on how to assess the basic hire rate (which a ‘pecunious’ claimant is entitled to recover). Normally, this will be the lowest reasonable rate quoted by a mainstream hire company in the locality.

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Contrib – lethal weapon?

The ‘lethal weapon’ principle applies when a defendant is in control of something that has obvious potential to cause serious harm. The classic example is the claimant cyclist and the defendant HGV driver. In a recent case, the cyclist had pedalled to the near side of the HGV, even though it had been indicating left, and yet the CA upheld a finding of 70% contrib on the part of the HGV driver with the court noting that it was appropriate for the judge:

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Discount rate – accommodation

February 2017’s lowering of the discount rate from 2.5% to -0.75% caught everyone unawares; a drop of over 3% in a single step is staggering. Such a situation is neither good for defendants nor claimants, and it does reinforce the argument that there should be regular (eg six-monthly) reviews, with the rate then being fixed by a suitably qualified body.

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WIP – accessing

An article in the SJ gives this checklist as a starting point for looking to improve the settlement pipeline of PI claims, and release cash from locked-up work in progress and disbursements:

Liability admitted claims: can these be pushed ahead; what is required to achieve final settlement?

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Clinical negligence – established practice

A child was born in 1997 with a congenital heart disorder, with serious surgery being carried out in 1998. Unfortunately, the result was brain damage and the child eventually died in 2015 (shortly before his 18th birthday).

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Costs – from other side’s expert?!

An expert witness undoubtedly owes a duty of care to the client (who is instructing the expert), and there is an overriding duty to the court. But, there is no duty to the opposing party. However, CPR entitles a party to apply for costs against a non-party – which then raises the question of whether that power could be used against the other side’s expert.

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Vicarious liability – wrongful settlement?

Suppose an employer is sued on the basis of vicarious liability for the behaviour of an employee. If the employer settles that claim without the consent of the employee, is that a potential breach of the duty of implied trust and confidence between employer and employee?

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MIB – new agreements

In January, the MIB published a new Untraced Drivers Agreement, and a revised version of its Uninsured Drivers Agreement, with the changes coming into effect on 1 March 2017.

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Discount rate – change

There has been much publicity about the reduction in the discount rate to -0.75%. The change came into force on 20 March 2017. As a note from Stephen Gold put it: ‘withdrawn any claimant CPR Part 36 offers lately?’ [2017] LJ 10 March 17.

 
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