Northern Ireland

'Thousands to benefit' from change in how personal injury compensation calculated

The high court in Belfast
The high court in Belfast The high court in Belfast

THOUSANDS of people taking personal injury cases are set to benefit after a legal challenge led to a change in how compensation is calculated, it has been claimed.

The Discount Rate is a percentage applied to lump sum compensation awards for future care and loss of earnings, to account for an expected return on investments.

Derry man Paul McCrossan brought a High Court challenge over the level in Northern Ireland, which has remained the same for 20 years.

Mr McCrossan, who suffered life-impacting injuries in a road traffic accident, claimed those arrangements were unlawful.

At the High Court today, a lawyer for the Department of Justice confirmed it now intends to change the Discount Rate.

Tony McGleenan QC said secondary legislation will be brought to the assembly to alter the current rate from 2.5% to minus 1.75% at the end of May.

"There will be no need for the court to write a judgment," he added.

The development brought an end to the legal challenge.

Frank O'Donoghue QC, representing Mr McCrossan, was awarded costs after contending: "The relief sought has been granted at the eleventh hour."

Despite changes in England, Wales and Scotland back in 2017, the Discount Rate has been kept at 2.5% in Northern Ireland since 2001.

Outside court Mr McCrossan said: "This change will allow me to get the full compensation that I am entitled to."

His lawyer, Jack Quigley of McGee Solicitors, insisted the changes were a direct result of the legal action.

He claimed thousands of others in Northern Ireland will also now benefit.

"This is a ground-breaking case for ordinary people around the country who deserve to get 100% compensation when they have been seriously injured," he said.

"It is both irrational and unreasonable that this has not been the case here for so many years particularly as the rate had changed in England, Wales and Scotland four years ago.

"Hopefully this result will help those who have been seriously injured and who desperately need compensation."