The Practical Lawyer

Personal injury

Intangible benefits – damages

Another common head of damages that is claimed is ‘loss of intangible benefits’ (ie loss of the household services that would otherwise have been provided by the injured or deceased family member). As has recently been said:

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Voluntary care – damages

Many PI claims include a claim for the care and attention given by a family member on a voluntary basis.

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Cyclists – helmets

The Highway Code recommends that cyclists should wear helmets. Whilst the Highway Code does not have direct legal force, RTA 1972 says that it can be used as tending to establish negative civil liability.

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Professional sport – club liable

In a semi-professional rugby match, one player punched another in an off-the-ball incident and broke his eye-socket. The CA held that the club (which employed the offending player) was vicariously liable.

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CFA – liability admitted

There are still a surprising number of decisions on success fees in CFAs. Whilst fixed levels of success fees have been introduced for RTAs, accidents at work, and industrial disease claims, there are still claims where there are no fixed success fess (eg professional negligence; public liability; older cases where the accident occurred before the introduction of fixed fees).

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Limitation – prejudice?

The HL decision in Hoare [2008] was important for its interpretation of Limitation Act 1980. The court made it clear that the proper approach when deciding whether an injury is ‘significant’ involves applying an entirely impersonal standard (rather than considering any particular characteristics of the claimant).

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Contrib – medical evidence

A defendant may well argue for contributory negligence against a claimant, on the basis that the claimant failed to take adequate care for his own safety. Typically, this will be based on a failure to wear a seatbelt, or perhaps a cyclist who fails to wear a crash helmet.

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Dogs – negligence

A recent case involving an injury by a dog hints at a change of approach by the courts when assessing whether the dog’s owner has been negligent.

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Car hire – courtesy car

Suppose a claimant is entitled to a courtesy car under his motor insurance policy. Can he still claim a car hire fee from the defendant?

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Interim payment – ‘reasonable proportion’

CPR 25.7(4) says:

‘The court must not order an interim payment of more than a reasonable proportion of the likely amount of the final judgment.’
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