Claimant lawyers describe judgment as catalyst for uptake

Lawyers have warned that the outcome of a landmark Court of Appeal case relating to periodic payments could lead to significant increases in insurer payouts for personal injury claims.

The decision in the case of Thompstone v Tameside & Glossop Acute Services NHS Trust is not expected to be overturned by the appeal judges, law firm Bond Pearce had said the Court of Appeal’s ruling would have a significant impact on the market.

Nicholas Bevan, senior solicitor at Bond Pearce said: “It is highly likely that the ruling will be upheld, and the case will be referred to the House of Lords”.

Bevan said that this would result in increased use of periodic payments and described the judgment as a “catalyst” for their uptake.

He added: “There will be two winners – HM Treasury and the claimants – at a cost to the insurance industry.”

The case looks at whether an index other than retail prices can be used to calculated periodic payments.

Periodic payments often afford greater financial security for claimants, uptakes currently stand at around 30% of personal injury cases, and have not increased since their introduction two years ago.

One in five high personal injury cases over £1m do not even consider the use of periodic payments – a figure that experts say will rise to the detriment of insurer.

Claimant lawyers already use the threat of pursuing a periodic payment resolution as a means of driving up lump sum settlements.

The judgment is expected early in the New Year.