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  • Changes to the Calculation of Personal Injury Compensation Payments

    24th April 2017

    When a claimant is awarded a lump sum compensation payment, the actual amount they receive is adjusted to take into account the interest they can expect to earn by investing it.

    The law makes it clear that claimants must be treated as risk-averse investors, being financially dependent on the lump sum, often for the rest of their lives.

    The adjustment is achieved by applying a 'discount rate', a percentage linked to returns on the lowest-risk investments – typically index-linked gilts.

    This rate had remained unchanged at 2.5 per cent since 2001. However, from 20 March 2017 a new discount rate of minus 0.75 per cent was introduced to take account of historically low returns on investments.

    On 30 March, in the face of adverse reaction from the insurance industry, the Ministry of Justice published a promised consultation into the personal injury discount rate framework. This will consider whether the current system is fair to both claimants and defendants, whether changes to how the rate is set are needed and whether it should be set by an independent body.

    The consultation, which can be found at https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/personal-injury-discount-rate/, closes on 11 May.

    A recent settlement that was negotiated in the light of the change in the discount rate will see a young boy who suffers from cerebral palsy as a result of oxygen starvation during his birth paid a lump sum of £6,874,283, plus index-linked and tax-free annual sums to cover the costs of his lifelong care.

    Those payments will start at £155,000, rising in steps to £215,000 when he reaches the age of 60. If he attains the age of 70, the total compensation package will be worth in the region of £18 million.

    Neale Crump, Litigation Solicitor says "Compensation awards should put the claimant in the same financial position as they would have been in had they not suffered the injury, which includes loss of future earnings and care costs where necessary. We can help you obtain the compensation you deserve." 

    For information and advice on Personal Injury claims contact Neale Crump in Marlborough on 01672 518620.

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