Court ruling on damages will "introduce unfairness" in injury claims

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Court ruling on damages will "introduce unfairness" in injury claims

10th October 2012

A decision by the Court of Appeal regarding the way damages should be increased for personal injury cases will introduce unfairness where before there was an even playing field.

The judgment in the case of Simmons v Castle overturns the Court’s previous announcement that a 10 per cent increase in damages - proposed as part of a package of civil justice reforms - should apply to all cases where judgment is given after 1 April 2013.

But today’s announcement, which comes after the Association of British Insurers asked the Court to re-open the case, states that anyone who has signed a conditional fee funding agreement (CFA) before 1 April 2013 – the date that the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act is due to come into effect - will be unable to claim the increase.

“The key difference is that the first Court of Appeal decision meant that anyone who started a claim for compensation before 1 April, but finished it after that date could claim the ten per cent increase,” said Karl Tonks, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and partner with Fentons Solicitors LLP. “In terms of providing a solution to a complex problem it was simple, clear, and fair to all concerned.

“But now someone who starts funding his claim in, for example, March next year but whose case concludes in, for example, November, won’t be entitled to the increase, while at the same time someone who starts on 1 April but whose case concludes in November will receive a different sum in damages for their pain and suffering. It could easily mean that two claimants leaving court on the same day, with the same injuries, will receive different damages just because of the date on which they signed their funding agreement,” he explained.

“Not content with all the extra money it will save from injured people as a result of the LASPO Act, the insurance industry has, once again, put the needs of its shareholders before those of people who are injured through no fault of their own,” he went on. “And once again, the victim loses out.”

Read more at: APIL