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Claims for lost years

David Regan considers the development of case law where a defendant’s negligence has caused death

14 April 2015

Appeals in cases currently before the courts are likely to have profound consequences for litigation where the defendant's negligence has caused death or shortened the claimant's lifespan.

The Supreme Court is to revisit Cookson v Knowles [1979] AC 556 and may well be asked to revisit Croke v Wiseman [1982] 1 WLR 71. Solicitors acting in cases with fatal consequences urgently need to consider the immediate effects of these appeals, whatever their outcome.

Date of death

In late February 2015, the Supreme Court gave permission for a direct appeal on the issue
of whether to overturn the much-criticised and now very aged judgment in Cookson. That decision fixed the multiplier for damages for dependency at the date of the death of the deceased rather than trial.

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