The Practical Lawyer

Personal injury

Specials – halved

Special damages attract interest at half the ‘special investment account rate’ (ie the special interest rate applied to court funds).

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Occupiers’ liability – warning

What do you think would be the outcome of this case: a homeowner is carrying out substantial renovation works, using a contractor. A temporary safety bannister is erected by the contractors, but is removed for a day to enable them to fit the new bannisters.

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Part 36 offer – withdrawal?

A person who receives a Part 36 offer can accept ‘at any time’ without the permission of the court. Note that this is not just within the 21-day period after receipt, but at any time after that (prior to commencement of trial).

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Highway – lack of grit

The highway authority is ‘under a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that safe passage along the highway is not endangered by snow and ice’ (s41(1A) HA 1980).

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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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