The ‘discount rate’, the amount by which compensation payments for serious and life changing injuries are adjusted to take account of interest rates and likely investment returns, was recently reduced by the Lord Chancellor from 2.5% above inflation to 0.75% below. 

Thompsons argues that, until March 2017, the high discount rate had allowed insurers to make huge savings at the expense of injury victims. It meant that people who are wholly reliant on their damages meeting their ongoing needs for care, rehabilitation and adjustments to their home, were losing out.

"It is vital that victims of life changing injuries get the support they need, and it is only right that this cost is borne by the insurer of the negligent party and not the state. We supported the long overdue adjustment of the discount rate earlier this year."

Samantha Hemsley
national head of the serious injury and clinical negligence team at Thompsons Solicitors

For those who sustain the most serious of injuries it is impossible to restore their quality of life. They are often unable to work at all, or only in a reduced capacity. In many cases victims require ongoing medical help, adapted accommodation, therapies, support with daily living and specialist equipment. 

Samantha Hemsley, national head of the serious injury and clinical negligence team at Thompsons, said: “It is vital that victims of life changing injuries get the support they need, and it is only right that this cost is borne by the insurer of the negligent party and not the state. We supported the long overdue adjustment of the discount rate earlier this year. 

“Claims by the insurance industry that the adjustment was unfair, are entirely false. It has long been known that the previous discount rate was out of step with reality. Yet, instead of managing their affairs responsibly, the insurers have lobbied the government to push through a consultation that was not needed, presumably with the ultimate goal of having the rate change overruled. Once again, this is proof that insurers have no real interest in the needs of injured people, some of the most vulnerable in our society. 

“We hope the next government will not kowtow to the insurer lobby, keep the rate as it has been revised and continue to set it to meet the needs of victims of serious injury who rely on compensation to provide a basic quality of life.

Read Thompsons’ full response to the consultation on the discount rate in personal injury here.