With the Personal Injury Discount Rate remaining in negative territory, arguments for the traditional Roberts & Johnstone approach to be replaced are likely to gather pace. Based on the decision in JR v Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [2017] EWHC 1245 and a PIDR of minus 0.25%, the value of future accommodation claims is still zero.

In both JR and the subsequent decision of Lambert J in Swift v Carpenter [2018] EWHC 2060, it was acknowledged that the Roberts formula was an imperfect way of resolving future accommodation claims in the current circumstances.  In Swift various mechanisms were proposed ranging from one based on a lifetime interest only mortgage (producing a significant windfall to the Claimant) to lifetime private rental costs (for a Claimant who did not want to rent and unfeasible when property modifications are borne in mind).  All were rejected by the judge who valued the future accommodation claim at zero. Some commentators have suggested other solutions including involving loans from the Defendant who would take a charge over the property.

The practicalities are a significant hurdle, not least the fact that the court has no power to order a charge in such circumstances. What is clear is that the Court of Appeal will need to adjudicate on the issue and find a workable solution which provides fair and appropriate resolution for both parties.  In the meantime legal representatives in all types of catastrophic injury claims will continue to put forward pragmatic ways to resolve this head of loss.

Medical Malpractice Forward View 2020

This article is part of Capsticks’ Medical Malpractice Forward View 2020. Read the other articles featured in this publication below:

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