How is COVID-19 going to affect the value of your claim?

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18 June, 2020

General damages (injury award)

This is unlikely to be affected. General damages are assessed in line with the Judicial Studies Board guidelines and on past case law.

Loss of Earnings

If there is going to be an economic downturn it could affect the sector in which the Claimant was working, wanted to work in or was hoping to work in. If their job was going to disappear because of the crisis, they would have lost earnings even if the accident had never happened. That could affect the recoverable loss, both past and future. Would they have been furloughed? Would they have received 80% of their salary or 100%? Much will depend on what their employer did during the crisis.

Treatment

The pandemic is likely to effect individuals access to treatment and therapy. Although some assistance can be offered by video and telephone, hands on therapy remains difficult with social distancing. Responsibility for the Claimants day to day needs are likely to fall on their family, the costs of which are significantly less than professional care.

Future losses

The Courts use the Ogden tables to assess future losses. An annual loss figure is calculated. For example, an injured claimant cannot work or is restricted in their ability to work. As a result, they are losing £10,000 in earnings, or they need help with day to day tasks and employ a carer at a cost of £10,000 per annum. This is known as the multiplicand. That figure is then multiplied by the number of years the loss is expected to last. This is known as the multiplier. The multiplier varies depending on various factors, one of which is life expectancy. The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to affect this figure and reduce it.

Sadly, deaths from Coronavirus have increased for some of those infected and the crisis has had an impact on access to health services. It will also impact on the social, physical and psychological wellbeing of some individuals, all of which could impact on life expectancy and reduce the multiplier.

Only time will tell as to how this impacts on the value of a claim but there are likely to be some interesting arguments going forward.

For more information contact John Bennett in our Clinical Negligence department via email or phone on 01254 872111. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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