Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Personal Injury Law Journal: December 2015/January 2016

Bill Braithwaite sets out the optimum management of a catastrophic injury claim and the impact on recoverable costs

I believe very strongly that catastrophic injury claims should be managed along certain lines, and that, if it is done well, there will be a significant upward impact on costs. I realise that my experience is limited to brain and spine, but I’m sure that the principles would apply to other major claims. Also, every case is different, and so not all the suggestions below will be relevant. What I think is more important is the approach to the whole litigation process, trying to make sure that the claimant and his or her rehabilitation and treatment come first, and managing the family so that they can withstand the intrusion of lawyers and experts.

Paul Jones outlines a case where the claimants’ fees were challenged due to a disagreement over complexity and proportionality

Two of the recurring themes of the Jackson reforms are proportionality and fixed costs. Proportionality becomes ever more prevalent in any assessment of costs and the ambit of fixed costs continues to grow with clinical negligence cases the next area of personal injury law in the frame. Add to this mix, the murky world of provisional assessment under CPR 47.15 and the recent case of Hobbs v Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust [2015] gives a neat precis of the current state of costs assessment in a post Jackson world.

What are the implications of the reversal by the Court of Appeal of the decision in Reaney v University Hospital of North Staffordshire? Julian Matthews considers the ramifications

In times of financial difficulties, the common law commonly comes to the aid of defendants, by assisting them to restrict their potential liabilities. There is an inherent tension between application of the ‘but for’ test of causation, which leads inexorably to the establishment of principles such as the doctrine of ‘material contribution,’ or creation of the Fairchild exception, with application of a strict doctrinal approach to causation which suggests that a tortfeasor should only be responsible for the actual damage that they have caused, thus limiting the scope of the compensation payable.

Expert evidence; road traffic accident; motorist duties; accident mathematics

At approximately 6pm on 12 January 2010 the claimant, Mr Horner, was struck by the Miss Norman’s vehicle as he was crossing the westbound carriageway of the A4 Colnbrook Bypass. He suffered serious injuries which left him with no recollection of the accident.


Nicola Hall examines Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board [2015] which updates the court’s approach to medical practitioners’ duty of advice to patients

The Supreme Court has handed down the judgment in the landmark case, Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board [2015].

A new motor insurance agreement has come into force after a government consultation. Andrew Baker reports on the implications

Since September 2014 there have been a series of significant developments in respect of motor insurance. Firstly the European Court of Justice handed down judgment in Vnuk v Zavarovalnica Triglav dd [2014], the full implications of which are still being assessed so far as UK law is concerned. In the final days of the last Parliament, came the Deregulation Act 2015 which removed any legal significance applying to the issue and surrender of motor insurance certificates from 30 June 2015 onwards. (See the Deregulation Act 2015 (Commencement No 1 and Transitional and Saving Provisions) Order 2015 and the Deregulation Act 2015 (Commencement No 1 and Transitional and Saving Provisions) (Amended) Order 2015). Finally, less than a week later on 3 July 2015, came the signing of a new Uninsured Drivers’ Agreement and a Supplemental Agreement to the Untraced Drivers’ Agreement 2003. This followed on from a government consultation on updating both the 1999 and 2003 agreements.

James Counsell and Ben Bradley discuss the legal implications of the decision in A v The Trustees of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society [2015] and some practical learning points arising from their involvement in the case

A v The Trustees of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society [2015] was the first historic sex abuse case to be brought against the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Peter Stewart highlights the important distinction between statutory negligence and strict liability following section 69 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013

Under s69(3) Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, employees injured at work can no longer simply rely on breach of statutory duty to found a civil action. An action will only succeed if the employer has been negligent. The question that emerges from this change is to what extent does an employer’s breach of statutory duty have an impact on a negligence claim?