‘Ground-breaking’ day for people taking personal injury cases in Northern Ireland
Thousands of people handling personal injury cases in Northern Ireland will benefit after a “breakthrough” legal challenge resulted in a change in how compensation is calculated, it was alleged today.
The discount rate is a percentage applied to flat-rate allowances for future care and loss of earnings to account for the expected return on investment.
Londonderry man Paul McCrossan brought a lawsuit in the High Court over the level in Northern Ireland, which has remained the same for 20 years.
Mr McCrossan, who sustained life-threatening injuries in a traffic accident, alleged the agreements were illegal.
In today’s High Court, the Justice Department attorney confirmed that he now intends to change the discount rate.
Tony McGleenan QC said that secondary legislation will be presented to the congregation to change the current rate from 2.5% to minus 1.75% at the end of May.
“The court does not have to write a judgment,” he added.
The development ended the legal challenge.
Frank O’Donoghue QC, representing Mr. McCrossan, received the expense after claiming, “The requested relief was granted at the 11th hour.”
Despite the changes in England, Wales and Scotland in 2017, the discount rate in Northern Ireland has been held at 2.5% since 2001.
In court, Mr. McCrossan said, “This change enables me to receive the full compensation to which I am entitled.”
His attorney, Jack Quigley of McGee Solicitors, insisted the changes were a direct result of legal action.
Mr. Quigley claimed that thousands of others in Northern Ireland will now benefit as well.
“This is a landmark case for ordinary people across the country who deserve 100% compensation if they are seriously injured,” he said.
“It is both irrational and unreasonable that this has not been the case here for so many years, especially since the rate changed four years ago in England, Wales and Scotland. Hopefully this result will help those who have been seriously injured and desperately need compensation. “
Mr. Quigley added, “I applaud the Justice Department’s approach, but it was extremely unfortunate that our client had no choice but to initiate this judicial review to force the Department to change its mind about the discount rate and make changes to the rate using secondary law.
“It’s better late than never, though.”
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