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Personal Injury Law Journal: November 2011
Moving Minds

Dr Manda Holmshaw and Wilson Carswell examine the psychological consequences of road traffic accidents

This article attempts to provide personal injury lawyers with an understanding of how they can benefit their clients who may have sustained a psychological condition as a result of a road accident. This reviews the extent of the problem and refers to the well-established guidelines for their clinical management before showing how well these guidelines work in practice. The results should be to the overall benefit of their clients.

Julian Matthews assesses the difficult legal issues that arise when multiple causes give rise to a compound injury

Most clinical negligence litigation arises out of adverse outcomes secondary to medical intervention required for some underlying condition. Given this, it is hardly surprising that issues of causation arise in nearly every case, and that most contested trials have causation disputes at their heart. While determining whether there has been a breach of duty can involve difficult issues of medical judgment, the legal framework for determining whether or not there is a breach is relatively straightforward, and has not caused the courts undue difficulty. The decisions and principles enunciated in Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee [1957] and Bolitho v City and Hackney HA [1997] are well understood now not only by lawyers, but by many of the medical practitioners engaged in medico-legal work. Yet even the most legally aware expert can struggle when it comes to issues of legal causation, and lawyers, even eminent members of the judiciary, can have diametrically opposed views when it comes to applying the established principles to complex facts.

Paul Jones discusses issues of proportonality

The costs dispute following the settlement of the group action against Trafigura, after the alleged illegal fly-tipping of chemical waste in 2006, continues to make headlines. Earlier this year the senior costs judge gave a wide-ranging judgment on a number of important issues and the case has now reached the Court of Appeal, Motto & ors v Trafigura Ltd & anor [2011].

Dr Jock Mackenzie and Richard Lodge have another look at the Eeles principles

In our article ‘Advance with caution’, PILJ88, September 2010, p2, we concluded that at interim payment applications, the courts had adopted a cautious approach in applying the Eeles principles and, where necessary, had applied a gloss to the Court of Appeal’s guidance. The landscape in September 2010 appeared to be:

Richard Cole investigates personal injury claims involving motorcyclists

Case law emanating from the appellate courts concerning road traffic accidents often involve claims brought by motorcyclists. This may well be because injuries suffered by motorcyclists are more serious and therefore the parties involved in these cases are more likely to want to test the liability decisions made in the lower courts at a higher level. In any event, motorcycle claims are seeing increased exposure. Solicitors firms often have departments that specialise in claims involving motorcyclists. Indeed some firms deal solely with such claims.

Simon Brown considers the liability of ATE insurers to a successful defendant

Can ATE and other legal expenses insurers be ordered to pay the costs of successful defendants?

Liability; psychiatric injury; secondary victims

This case provides an illuminating consideration of the scope of liability in this difficult area of law.