Multipliers in Fatal Accident Cases - the waiting is over

On Wednesday 24 February 2016 The Supreme Court handed down its decision in the case of Knauer v Ministry of Justice [2016] UKSC 9 that fundamentally changes the basis upon which fatal accident awards are calculated. The Supreme Court in a unanimous ruling determined that the DATE OF TRIAL is the appropriate date to be used in the calculation of losses in fatal accident cases. This will result in significant increased awards in fatal accident cases as seen by the following examples.

EXAMPLE 1

Husband aged 47 at date of death, wife aged 44, two children; youngest aged 11 and expected to remain in education until third level education, aged 21. Husband earning £40,000 pa, wife earning £25,000 pa; dependency calculated in line with Harris v Empress and Coward v Comex. Trial takes place five years following date of death. 

LOSS OF EARNINGS DEPENDENCY*

 

Multipliers from date of death

 

Multipliers from date of trial

 

Increase / (Decrease)

 

 

 

 

 

(Historic Approach)

 

(New Approach)

 

 

Past period

 

 

 

 £99,393

 

 £98,399

 

£(994)

Future from trial to retirement age 65

£123,773

 

£156,775

 

£33,002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL INCREASE

 

£32,008

 

 EXAMPLE 2

Single mother aged 35 at date of death, child aged 5 and expected to remain in education until age 18. Mother earning £30,000 pa prior to death; dependency calculated in line with Harris v Empress and Coward v Comex. Trial takes place nine years following date of death.

LOSS OF EARNINGS DEPENDENCY*

 

Multipliers from date of death

 

Multipliers from date of trial

 

Increase / (Decrease)

 

 

 

 

 

(Historic Approach)

 

(New Approach)

 

 

Past period

 

 

 

 £137,177

 

 £135,805

 

£(1,372)

Future from trial until child aged 18

 

 £14,099

 

 £52,638

 

£38,539

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL INCREASE

 

£37,167

 

*Additional uplifted losses will arise in respect of claims for loss of services and other heads of claim

 For more information on the this ruling, please contact Gabriel Greene

 

 

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