Accommodation Claims For Serious InjuriesOct 23, 2020
On Friday 9th October, the Court of Appeal issued its long awaited and welcome decision in the case of Swift V Carpenter. The case has radically overhauled the law. The valuation of accommodation claims for seriously injured people has been long overdue.
The basic principle is that an injured party should receive fair and reasonable full compensation.
In the case, the claimant is now reliant on using a wheelchair. The Claimant has to find significant amounts of money to buy a suitable property, often a bungalow, for their needs.
Up until Friday 9th, if a Claimant needed an additional £500,000 to purchase a property they could not simply add that sum to their claim. Doing so was seen as an “unfair windfall” to the Claimant’s estate upon their death. The law therefore allowed the Claimant to claim only the loss of notional income on that £500,000. In these days of low and even negative interest rates that produced an unfair result for the Claimant who for the past few years has not been able to show any loss of income due to a deemed negative rate of return. The Claimant was therefore forced to use money from other parts of the claim. Typically meaning a loss of future income and the costs of future nursing care and medical treatment to pay for the additional accommodation.
The Court of Appeal recognized on Friday 9th that seriously injured Claimants were not receiving full compensation. Now a Claimant is permitted to Claim the full additional cost of buying the more suitable property. The Court will make some deduction to reflect what is termed the “reversionary interest”, reflecting the current value of a property subject to the owner’s right to own the property for the rest of their life. In Charlotte Swift’s case, the £900,000 which she claimed was reduced to a figure just over £800,000.
Since 2013, there have been many changes in the law which have eroded the full compensation principle. This decision represents a very welcome swing the other way.