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Higgs v. Pickles


Croydon County Court

The court determined future loss of earnings in respect of a claim for damages for personal injury arising out of a road traffic accident in the amount of £152,849 having considered the claimant's enthusiasm, interest and record in work, and having applied a deduction in respect of his residual earning capacity.
The court was required to determine future loss of earnings arising out of a claim for damages brought by the claimant (H) against the defendant (P) for personal injuries sustained in a road traffic accident. H, who was 48 years old at the time, had been knocked off his motorcycle when P, driving a car, turned across his path. H suffered a fracture to his right tibia intercondyle spinous process and a comminuted fracture of the right tibial plateau within his right knee, which extended into the medial and lateral tibial plateau with a large central fragment posteriorly. He also suffered a laceration to his right thigh and grazing to his right leg and a soft tissue injury to his right shoulder. Later, he was found to have a Type 2 impingement underneath the acromion, for which he underwent a decompression of the acromion joint. Liability was admitted and general and special damages agreed. Before the accident, H had worked as a self-employed bricklayer and builder. After the accident he could not return to work and opted to re-train. To date, outside of locum work for a friend, he had been unable to find employment. H submitted that he would have carried on working in the building trade long after the age of 65 but, at about that time, would have probably stopped working on building sites and moved to domestic work.
HELD: H would probably have continued using his skills as a bricklayer until about the age of 75. Using the Ogden Tables as a starting point, it was apparent that H's earnings would be significantly less after the age of 65 and the multiplier should, accordingly, be reduced and taken to the age of 70. That gave a multiplier for the earnings, but for the accident, of 13.11. Table A indicated a reduction factor of 0.80, reducing the multiplier to 10.48, giving a total figure, based on multiplicand earnings pre-accident of £17,007, of £178,223. Given his work record, his enthusiasm, the fact that he was a single man and work provided him with an interest, H would, if he got work, stay there until beyond 65, albeit probably part-time. That meant that the appropriate multiplier was 13.11, to which the reduction factor in Table B of 0.15 had to be applied, giving a figure of 1.966. Taking into account a residual earning capacity of £25,384, the amount H would have earned, but for the accident, was £152,849. There were no special factors in the case to justify a departure from the starting point indicated by the Tables (see paras 45, 49, 51-52, 60 of judgment).

Damages assessed.

Counsel for the defendant: Christopher Walker.

[2011] PIQR P15

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