The 15th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of Damages in Personal Injury cases was published on 26 November 2019, updating the guideline valuations for personal injury practitioners and the judiciary in assessing general damages:
- The update has involved a review by the editors of all published damages awards over the past two years since the publication of the 14th edition, which they acknowledge are few.
- The figures also take into account inflation reflecting the RPI increase of 7% from May 2017 to end of June 2019, resulting in an equivalent (rounded) increase in the brackets.
- The figures with and without the Simmons v Castle uplift of 10% remain, albeit the majority of cases are now expected to attract the uplift.
- Other changes include the simplification of some categories and further explanation in others, particularly in relation to psychiatric injuries to assist increasing numbers of litigants in person.
It is likely Claimant practitioners will be looking at these increased figures already and this should be borne in mind by insurers and practitioners when making offers and setting reserves. Consideration should also be given to previous offers made and whether, as a result of the increases, these are likely to be beaten at any forthcoming hearings resulting in costs consequences, which may be particularly pertinent in low value personal injury claims in road traffic accidents where other heads of loss are less significant.
Looking to the future Chapter 7, Orthopaedic Injuries and Chapter 13, Minor Injuries will be impacted by the whiplash reforms being implemented by the Civil Liability Act 2018. This provides for the introduction of a fixed tariff for general damages for whiplash injuries as defined by s.1 Civil Liability Act 2018. The anticipated introduction of these tariffs is April 2020, at which stage the figures in the Judicial College Guidelines will no longer apply to injuries of this nature.
Next time round the editors will also be considering a further category of psychiatric injury for sexual abuse and whether the RPI remains the appropriate measure for increases across the board.
Analysis Table of some of the pertinent areas for road traffic accidents are shown in the table which can be viewed by clicking here.
To view/download this Legal Update as a PDF please click here.
Dan Clegg, Partner
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Julia Archer, Associate
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