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Personal injury

Vicarious liability – independent contractor

The question of vicarious liability for the deliberate actions of an independent contractor has recently been considered in the context of claims against a doctor who carried out medical examinations for a bank.

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Defective premises – disrepair?

Under Defective Premises Act 1972, L owes a duty of care if there are defects in the state of the premises. But, this duty only arises if L has an obligation to maintain or repair the premises, or if L has a right (express or implied) to enter the premises to carry out maintenance or repair.

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Law reform – probate fees

The damages that can be claimed under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 are limited.

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Credit hire – impecuniosity

An ‘impecunious’ claimant has to be treated differently from a ‘pecunious’ claimant. The test of impecuniosity is, however, somewhat vague. In Lagden [2003] it was said to depend on whether or not the claimant had the ‘choice’ to go into the open market and hire at ordinary credit hire rates.

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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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Page 7 of 48

Most-read articles

Probate fees – increase delayed
Thursday, 09 May 2019
We reported in the April 2019 edition (p34) on the increase of probate fees which was due to come into effect in April 2019. Read more...
VAT Order – construction services
Thursday, 09 May 2019
The VAT (s55A) (Specified Services and Excepted Supplies) Order 2019 comes into effect in relation to supplies made on or after 1 October 2019. Read more...
Brexit – impact on solicitors
Thursday, 09 May 2019
The Law Society has issued guidance for solicitors on the impact of the postponement of the UK’s departure from the EU. Read more...
RTA claims – no lawyers
Thursday, 09 May 2019
The Gazette reports that the MoJ has issued a consultation as to how to create an IT platform to enable unrepresented litigants to progress their own claim. Read more...
CFAs – no automatic 100% success fee
Thursday, 09 May 2019
In RTA claims, may firms routinely set a 100% success fee and claim the maximum limit of 25% of total damages. Read more...
T’s failure to respond – not a refusal of access
Thursday, 09 May 2019
The UT has held that T’s failure to reply to a letter from L requesting access to the property did not amount to a refusal of access. Read more...
MEES non-domestic rentals – reminder
Thursday, 09 May 2019
The MEES regulations are designed to tackle the least energy efficient properties in England and Wales and the Regs establish a minimum standard of EPC band E for domestic and non-domestic private... Read more...
‘Highway’ – no single meaning
Thursday, 09 May 2019
The SC has recently clarified the meaning of a highway. Read more...
Procedure – divorce
Thursday, 09 May 2019
Divorce practitioners may be particularly interested in the background to a recent case setting out the administrative processes and procedures by which errors in divorce proceedings are picked up... Read more...
EU citizens – right to work checks
Thursday, 09 May 2019
The government has issued guidance on employing EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, and their family members, after Brexit. Read more...

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