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Personal Injury Law Journal: October 2012

Janet Sayers recaps the main challenges to face clinical negligence lawyers this year

This last year has seen a number of significant developments in the clinical negligence arena. I set out some of the main highlights below.

Kate Parker explores small but statistically significant reductions in mean general damages, mean costs and mean speed of settlement

Professor Fenn’s Review, ‘Evaluating the Low Value Road Traffic Accident Process’, assesses the affect of the RTA Portal on mean general damages, mean costs and mean speed of settlement through a comparison of pre- and post-Portal data.

Julian Matthews examines an anomaly that should not exist

In assessing damages for clinical negligence that leads to impairment of sexual function, the case law has traditionally approached the value of impairment rather differently according to the gender of the injured party. The recent widespread publicity concerning the ‘Fifty Shades’ books, and the resulting discussions across all forms of media, have provided definitive proof (not that it was really needed) that the traditional approach which suggested that sexual function is of lesser importance to women than to men is utterly outdated.

Anthony Gold

Stephanie Prior assesses whether legal liability attaches when drivers take emergency avoiding action

Many claims arise each year involving injuries caused by animals. Often consideration of The Animals Act is required. However, what is the position where an animal dashes into the road causing a motorist to either hit the animal or swerve to avoid it and causes personal injury to the occupants of his vehicle or a collision with on coming traffic? Is the driver negligent?

Edward Rowntree looks at the need to comply with the letter of the rules

Although the heading to this article ought to be unnecessary, it is plain from recent judgments, both in the High Court and the Court of Appeal, that insufficient attention is being paid to the Part 36 regime by parties wishing to settle their differences.

John McDonald discusses the requisite burden of proof

It is trite law that in civil claims the burden of proof of negligence generally falls on a claimant. He must prove, on the balance of probabilities, that the defendant was in breach of a duty of care owed to him and that such breach of duty caused his loss. In other words, the claimant must prove that his version of events is more likely than that of the defendant. Thus, if the evidence is such that it is consistent with both the claimant’s and the defendant’s version of events – so that the claimant’s version is not more likely than that of the defendant – he has not made out his case and it fails.

Robert Connelly considers the long and winding road to Jackson

As April 2013 looms ever nearer, personal injury practitioners will increasingly be looking for clues as to how the Jackson reforms will impact upon them/their clients on an operational basis.

Julian Chamberlayne and Kerie Receveur review recent case law on retrospective and discounted conditional fee agreements

A discounted conditional fee agreement (CFA) (otherwise known as a ‘no win, low fee’ agreement), as we will all know, means that a law firm will be paid at the agreed discounted hourly rate as the case proceeds, but will forego the balance of its base costs if the client loses, and will recover all of its base costs with or without a success fee if the client wins. On the other hand, a retrospective CFA is based on a conditional fee agreement that covers work done before the date the document was signed. A retrospective CFA can occur in a number of situations, for instance: