Multiple-injury motor claims with a bearing on thousands of other cases will be tested in the Supreme Court, it was confirmed today.
The court announced it has granted permission in Briggs and Rabot to hear an appeal from the Association of British Insurers, which seeks to challenge the decision of the Court of Appeal from January this year.
The cases will examine the key issues of damages levels for mixed injury cases being processed through the Official Injury Claim portal. Soft tissue injuries are subject to fixed damages according to a tariff, but other injuries are under no such restriction, and the issue of what to do when claimants have a hybrid case was left unresolved by the government’s Civil Liability Act.
In the first three months of this year, 66.3% of claims on the OIC were mixed tariff cases, with litigants advancing claims for whiplash and other physical injuries.
The majority decision of the Court of Appeal was that RTA victims should be compensated separately for whiplash and other injuries, subject to small reductions. Master of the rolls Sir Geoffrey Vos had disagreed with the judgment.
The ABI sought permission to appeal in the Supreme Court, heartened by Vos’s dissenting judgment and arguing there were wider legal issues that justices should consider. That request was agreed today.
An ABI spokesperson said: ‘We believe that the Court of Appeal’s judgment on the mixed injuries test cases risks undermining the intent of the whiplash reforms and opens the door to double counting of injuries.
‘We’re pleased that we have been granted the right to appeal, and will continue to act in the best interests of motor insurance customers, while ensuring fair and proportionate compensation for claimants.’
Commenting on the decision to grant leave to appeal, Matthew Maxwell Scott, executive director of the Association of Consumer Support Organisations, said it would be ‘unfair, unwarranted and unreasonable’ if the Court of Appeal decision was overturned.
He added: ‘We hope the Supreme Court rules in favour of the injured party, to offset the dramatically lower levels of compensation they now receive for whiplash injuries and to avoid the conclusion that other injuries sustained are somehow less important or severe simply because there was a whiplash involved.
‘Tens of thousands of cases remain in limbo at the present time, so we urge the Supreme Court to deal hear the appeal with urgency. If the appeal is not heard quickly, hundreds of thousands of people suffering from mixed injuries may have to wait until as late as 2025 for clarity, which would be a full seven years after the Civil Liability Act was passed into law.’