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Personal Injury Law Journal: February 2016

Edward Bishop QC sets out cases that demonstrate the instances in which a secondary victim claim might be successful

Claims for damages for psychiatric illness suffered by those who witness injuries to others (ie ‘secondary victims’) are subject to common law ‘control mechanisms’. Despite recommendations by the Law Commission for change, and the fact that mental illness has become so much better understood over recent years, these obstacles continue to cause claimants difficulties, as some recent Court of Appeal and first instance decisions show.

With new research and warnings being released, possible liability issues are starting to emerge. Chris Fletcher reports

In August 2014, the World Health Organisation (WHO) created a media stir by suggesting that there should be a ban imposed on the use of e-cigarettes indoors, and warned that e-cigarette products may pose a threat to children and the foetuses of pregnant women.

John McDonald discusses what is meant by a material increase in risk after exposure to asbestos

Many of you will know the limerick which goes as follows:

CFAs; retrospective recoverability of success fees; back-dating

This costs appeal is notable for the relatively benign approach taken to a retrospective CFA.

Liam Ryan examines the overlap between employment and personal injury law in stress at work cases

The process of litigation, by its very nature, is unpredictable and stressful. The statutory instruments which govern the employment relationship, while at their core seeking to regulate, protect and assist both employees and employers are subject to interpretation. Practically, when applied to the unique and varied facts of each individual case, they rarely result in a certain outcome due to the number of moving parts that comprise a claim. Despite these uncertainties, litigation before the courts and tribunals does not appear to be ceasing or stalling. Litigators therefore may want to consider how they can not only assist their clients at an early stage, but ensure that the facts, at least where they can, fall to their client’s advantage.

Paul Jones reflects on a case where an insurer attempted to side step a claimant’s claim

It is a truism that legal costs have, over the last 20 years, witnessed a prolonged and often bitter battle between insurers and claimant personal injury solicitors. However, with the implementation of the Jackson reforms and future reforms yet to happen but heralded by the government, most objective observers would conclude that it was the insurers who have, ultimately, come out on top. However, the recent case of Edmondson Solicitors v Haven Insurance [2015] shows that there are still skirmishes going on between claimant solicitors and insurers.

Emma Zeb and Glyn Edwards consider the Court of Appeal decision in Reany v University Hospital of North Staffs NHS Trust [2015] and the impact this has on care and medical treatment claims

The issue at the heart of the causation debate is the measure of damages when one considers what would have happened ‘but for’ the accident. In cases where the claimant already had medical problems and, for example, had care or treatment needs (whether at the time of the accident or which would have developed over the course of time), the question for the courts is to what extent the defendant who causes a new state of affairs by reason of the tort causing injury is then liable for the entire post-tort condition.