Fatal Accident Multipliers to be calculated from Trial: Knauer v Ministry of Justice (2016) UKSC 9
Published 24 February 2016
The Supreme Court has today unanimously overturned 37 years of established law to hold that when calculating the dependency in Fatal Accident claims multipliers should be calculated from the date of trial. In doing so they bring the date of calculation into line with all other personal injury claims.
However the methodology for the calculation of multipliers is not that applied in non-fatal claims. The Supreme Court noted the concession made by the Appellant that:
"the sum calculated to reflect the loss which has been suffered up to the date of trial should contain a discount to reflect the risk that, had there been no tort, the deceased might have died between her actual date of death and the date of trial. There may also be a risk that the support or services provided for a dependant might have stopped or reduced, for example because of the deceased’s accident, illness or loss of job or the dependency ceasing, for example because a child grows up. In most cases any discount would be a modest one, although of course there will be cases in which the risk was far from negligible and where a larger discount would be appropriate."
Some years ago the Ogden Tables started including a method to allow for these factors. The current advice is contained at Section D of the Guidance notes to the 7th Edition.
The Supreme Court has effectively approved this method, which must now be used for calculating multipliers in Fatal Accident claims.
As the Court points out the change will increase multipliers by a small but not insignificant amount in nearly every case. In this case the difference in method of calculation amounted to £52,808.
The Judgment has retrospective effect and therefore affects all outstanding Fatal Accident claims. Reserves on all such cases will need review if the risk inherent in this case has not already been allowed for."