Thompstone Appeal Upheld In Landmark Case For Insurers
by Stewart Douglas
A high profile court case has today been upheld in the Court of Appeal following extensive litigation efforts over the way in which damages are paid in personal injury claims, which has paved the way for a further appeal to the House of Lords in order to determine definitively the law in that area.
The Court of Appeal, ruling today following the reference of the first instance decision in the landmark case of Thompstone v Thameside, decided to uphold the decision in that case which initially held that periodic payments in the personal injury damages equation would be calculated in line with some alternative to the retail price index in order to provide a more satisfactory reflection of inflationary pressures.
The decision has sparked fury in certain circles, and has been seen as one of the most controversial decisions facing the insurance industry for a number of years, particularly given the strong implications for the NHS in payouts to those opting for periodic payments following personal injury cases, with some estimates suggesting the decision could cost the body in excess of £1.7 billion.
Whilst the decision today has been given further weight by the Court of Appeal, it is thought that at present there may still be a House of Lords hearing to come, with today’s decision subject to the wider appeal process.
As such the law in this area could still be changed pending the decision of the law lords should an appeal be mounted accordingly. As the highest court of appeal, the decision of the House of Lords would subsequently fix the legal status of calculating payouts, which was until the Thompstone case calculated in line with the retail price index, rather than the more generous alternative index suggested by the court.