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Forward thinking

Rowland Hogg argues the case for a new, and possibly fairer, approach to calculating damages for severely injured claimants

6 February 2004

Three claimants with catastrophic personal injuries have suggested a refinement to the method of calculating lump sum awards for future losses without which, they said, their claims will be massively understated. Although the Courts Act will give courts the power to impose periodical payments, in my view lump sums will remain, for the time being, the principal method of compensation for future losses. These claims were considered recently by the Court of Appeal (Cooke v United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust, Sheppard v Stibbe and Page v Lee [2003] EWCA Civ 1370. See also Rough and ready justice? Stephanie Cope (2003) 147 SJ 1221, 31.10.03). Claims (figures using the conventional method) C is 12 years old and suffered severe brain injuries at birth. He needs and will continue to need constant supervision 24 hours per day. His claim for future losses amounts to over £4m, including about £3m for care. His future life expectancy is estimated at 59...

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