Changes to personal injury and employment claims announced by Lord Chancellor
The Lord Chancellor has today announced changes that are likely to affect personal injury and employment claims and their compensation. The official press release is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-discount-rate-for-personal-injury-claims-announced
Traditionally, the purpose of the Discount Rate was to counteract the benefit that claimants received by receiving lump sum compensation payments up front. However that figure has now reduced from a 2.5% discount to minus 0.75%, meaning that the Discount Rate results in an increase in your losses, not a reduction. The Lord Chancellor confirmed that this reflected the fact that personal injury claimants are typically risk averse as investors. It also no doubt takes into account the low base interest rate which means that claimants who do invest their damages for the future will see only nominal growth.
Director and head of personal injury, Andrew King, comments about the recent announcement: “The changes are extremely positive for people bringing personal injury claims, particularly those who have suffered life changing injuries. The change to the Discount Rate will have an enormous impact on compensation and settlement discussions with Defendants moving toward. This will ensure that compensation will now be set at an appropriate level to ensure that accident victims have sufficient funds for the remainder of their lives. APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) has done a fantastic job in campaigning for this reduction, which was well overdue. The last time the Discount Rate was changed was 2001.”
The new Discount Rate will take effect from 20 March 2017. Not only will it impact personal injury claims, but it will also affect employment claims for discrimination and detriment where a claim has a serious long-term medical condition and receives an award for future loss of earnings.