Anexo welcomes Supreme Court judgement on motor injury claims

Alan Sellers

Anexo, the specialist integrated credit hire and legal services provider, with offices in Liverpool, Bolton and Leeds, has welcomed a Supreme Court judgement announced on March 26, 2024, regarding the calculation of damages for injuries caused by a motor accident.

It said it makes it easier for claimants in whiplash and pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA) cases.

Anexo’s legal arm, Bond Turner, represents clients in motor cases, such as injuries, as well as ongoing class-action emissions claims against motor manufacturers.

The Civil Liability Act 2018 and the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021 have significantly reduced the amount of damages payable for PSLA, and these are now calculated on a fixed basis depending on the duration of the injury and whether the PSLA was based solely on whiplash injuries or upon whiplash injuries with concurrent minor psychological injuries.

The case examined by the Supreme Court, (Hassam and another v Rabot and another), explored the effect of the new legislation on non-whiplash injuries which would normally be covered by common law precedent. In other words, what is the position on concurrent PSLA caused by both a whiplash injury and a non-whiplash injury?

Official statistics from the Official Injury Claim Service (OIC) for the period October 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023, show that, during that three-month period there were 62,557 whiplash claims via the OIC portal. Of these, 43,159 (66.7%) were for both whiplash and non-whiplash injuries.

The Court of Appeal was divided on this issue, the majority holding that claimants remained entitled to full common law compensation for their non-whiplash injuries, but the Master of Rolls disagreed and gave a dissenting judgment.

The Supreme Court has affirmed the majority approach and dismissed the insurers’ appeals.

Giving the unanimous judgment, Lord Burrows agreed with the claimants, explaining that the correct methodology to value an injury for whiplash with a non-whiplash injury is as follows:

1. Assess the tariff amount for the whiplash;

2. Assess the common law damages for the other injuries;

3. Add the figures together;

4. Step back and consider whether a ‘totality’ adjustment was needed to avoid over- or under-compensation and make any such adjustment to the common law award. The judgment includes the caveat that the final award cannot be lower than the common law damages which would have been awarded for PSLA caused by non-whiplash injuries only.

Alan Sellers, executive chairman of Anexo Group, said: “We are very pleased to note this Supreme Court decision.

“It establishes as a matter of law that claimants can claim for both whiplash and non-whiplash PSLA, without the quantum of damages in the latter being restricted by the Whiplash Injury Regulations.

“This ruling will have a positive impact on thousands of individual cases where the claimant is seeking damages for non-whiplash injuries following a no-fault accident.

“It provides support for Bond Turner in seeking to represent the interests of our clients in all aspects of their claims and underpins our dedication to assuring the best possible outcome for the claimants for whom we act.”