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Personal Injury Law Journal: April 2016

Bill Braithwaite QC highlights a judgment with clear findings on causation and material contribution

For those interested in clinical negligence, the Privy Council gave a very helpful decision in relation to causation on the 25 January 2016 – Williams v Bermuda Hospitals [2016]. I’m a great believer in simplifying legal issues, and I’ve always thought that this area, encompassing material contribution, needed a breath of fresh air.

The threshold for liability in negligence of a mentally or physically impaired tortfeasor has recently been clarified in the Court of Appeal decision in Terry Dunnage v (1) Randall (2) UK Insurance Limited [2015]. David Roderick reports

The case of Terry Dunnage v (1) Randall (2) UK Insurance Limited [2015] concerned the important question of whether or not a person suffering from a physical or mental incapacity will be liable in damages to an injured person. The extent of the mental instability in the case was extremely severe and it had resulted in a man’s actions becoming overwhelmingly directed by his deluded and deranged mind.

Luka Krsljanin explores cases that highlight the exceptions to the default QOCS rules

This article provides a practical guide to the cases in which courts have considered when the protection of the QOCS rules should be set aside, enabling a successful defendant to enforce a costs order obtained against a personal injury claimant.

John McDonald sets out considerations for practitioners seeking compensation for claimants injured by unidentified drivers

Someone has been injured in a road traffic accident and wishes to bring a claim. The negligent driver who caused the accident leaves the scene without giving their name, and all that the victim knows is the registration number of the vehicle they were driving. In such a situation, a claim can probably be brought under the Motor Insurers’ Bureau Untraced Drivers Agreement 2003. But there are significant disadvantages for claimants in such a course, not least the fact that the level of costs recoverable under the Untraced Drivers Agreement is very limited. For this reason, many solicitors acting for claimants seek other routes to obtaining compensation for their clients. Insurers defending such claims – and of course claimants’ solicitors – should be aware of the difficulties involved.

Vicarious liability; breach of duty; protection for victims of tort; employment relationship

Who would have thought a generation ago that the prison service would be held vicariously liable for the negligence of a prisoner? Yet in Cox v Ministry of Justice [2016], a prisoner working in the prison kitchen negligently injured a member of staff, and vicarious liability followed, showing just how far these principles have developed in recent years. Coupled with the parallel decision of the Supreme Court in Mohamud v WM Morrison Supermarkets [2016] and its decision in Woodland v Essex County Council [2013] which significantly extended the scope of the principle of the non-delegable duty of care, it is clear that we are in an era where it will be very difficult for insured economic entities to avoid compensating accident victims by passing the blame entirely onto a sub-entity or employee, especially one without insurance. Yet in reality vicarious liability is expanding in scope as and because the world of employment has been changing, but it has been keeping true to its original rationale of risk allocation as between innocent people – the employer and the victim of the employee’s tort.


Stephanie Prior reviews recent changes in personal injury and clinical negligence litigation

It has been an exciting period in the litigation world over the last year or so. This article will touch upon some of those changes and the cases that have literally changed the law.

In the second part of this article, Martin Littler suggests safeguards and amendments to CPR in order to ensure that such cases are streamlined and properly tracked

We saw in part one of the article that, while successful, the claimant encountered a number of hurdles on the road to trial.

Paul Jones explains the importance of a recent conjoined appeal regarding Part 36 offers

Fixed costs are, once again, the current hot topic in civil litigation. Lord Justice Jackson has called for costs to be fixed in all claims up to £250,000 in value and, not entirely surprisingly, this has not been met with universal agreement from the profession or elements of the judiciary. Coincidentally, while this debate is raging in the legal press, the Court of Appeal has recently handed down judgment in the important conjoined appeals of Broadhurst v Tan; Taylor v Smith [2016] which deal with the limits of fixed costs and a very important point regarding their interplay with Part 36 offers.