Amending proceedings after the expiry of the limitation period
Time limits for amendment of proceedings after the expiry of the primary limitation period are covered by Section 35 of the Limitation Act. From time to time we have problems where we need to amend to plead a new cause of action or to substitute a new party. There is an excellent article on this by a barrister, Clive Thomas, at page 351 of the Journal of Personal Injury Law December 2005.
Pleural Plaques not compensatable says Court of Appeal
The appeal was brought by the insurance industry following a judgment of the High Court last year when it was decided that claimants with pleural plaques should receive compensation. The Court of Appeal has overturned the decision of the High Court. This means that pleural plaques are no longer compensatable.
The decision of the Court of Appeal was decided by a majority verdict of 2:1. The two Judges who held that pleural plaques cases should not attract compensation were the Lord Chief Justice Phillips and Lord Justice Longmore. The third member of the Appeal Court, Lady Justice Smith disagreed.
This decision, unless overturned on Appeal to the House of Lords, will bring an end to an establishment right to compensation, which has existed for 20 years, for pleural plaques which are in almost every case caused by workers being exposed to asbestos due to the negligence of their employers. The outcome, if it stands, will result in a substantial windfall saving to the insurance industry.
We are applying for leave to appeal to the House of Lords. Ian McFall will be providing guidance and advice to all lawyers dealing with asbestos cases.
Grieves and others -v- F T Everard and Sons and others. Court of Appeal, 26 January 2006.
Pushing the limits on minor injuries
Insurers argue that victims of personal injury do not need lawyers to get justice. All they need to do is submit a claim themselves and the insurers will pay them out fair compensation; but lawyers do make a difference – a big difference. Look at the following:
• We received instructions in an RTA case where insurers had already offered the client £500. After writing a letter of claim, the offer was increased to £1,250. This was rejected and after obtaining a medical report we made a Part 36 offer of £2,250, which the insurers accepted.
• In a low velocity impact case the claimant had whiplash symptoms for eight weeks. The defendants submitted detailed questions to the medical expert but he held firm. We researched Kemp and Kemp and Current Law quoting three similar cases in order to obtain an offer of £1,000 general damages on a case where the insurers were initially prepared to pay nothing.
• In a case called Long -v- Clark in Leeds County Court on 13 September 2005, insurers were not prepared to make a reasonable quantum offer on a whiplash case where the client was off work for one week, could not drive for 4-5 days and was fully recovered within four weeks. He was unable to use the gym for four weeks and could not do DIY for two weeks. The neck pain had disappeared within two weeks. We rejected £750. The court awarded £1,000 general damages.
We know what a difference it makes to a client having lawyers who are prepared to argue for more damages and put pressure on insurers. These are just three examples out of many.