What are the JC (Judicial College) Guidelines?

One of the regular questions that crops up when a Claimant has suffered an injury is ‘How much will I get?’ although the solicitor wants to obtain the best amount of compensation, the answer to the question is not so simple.

It is useful to note that the severity of the accident does not dictate the valuation; it is the severity of the injury that is most important. A non-dangerous accident resulting in significant injuries would be worth more than a serious incident where the Claimant suffered only scratches.

Once an admission of liability has been conceded and a medical legal report has been provided by a medical expert, a true valuation of the claim will be obtained. The Claimant Solicitor will usually wait until the Claimant has reached their full recovery before preparing an assessment of the value of the claim. The Judicial College Guidelines will then be looked at.

If an agreement could not be reached between the parties to settle the Claimant’s claim, the claim would proceed to a final court hearing. The Judicial College Guidelines would then be looked at by the judge. The latest addition of the judicial College Guidelines is the 14th Edition.

The Judicial College Guidelines is an assessment of General Damages, which is used to determine the value of a personal injury claim following the injuries the Claimant has sustained in an accident.

It is imperative to note that the Guidelines are only guidance, they are not law. In addition to the Judicial Guidelines it is always helpful to have knowledge of similar case law to help determine the likely value of the claim. Such relevant case law will depend on facts such as, similar injuries sustained and similar age of the Claimant injured in a similar accident. One other important factor to take into consideration is whether the Claimant is male or female. For example a female victim who has suffered an injury to the face will generally recover more damages than a male. The circumstances of the case must be regarded as the ultimate determinative factor in any award for general damages.

Case law can sometimes differ slightly from the guidelines. Solicitors will always use the Judicial College Guidelines in addition with case law to advise the Claimant on the full value of the claim. However,  where the Claimant states that they are still symptomatic and want to know how much their claim may be worth, Solicitors are not deriving away from the question when they say don’t know, they really don’t.

The Guidelines reflect inflationary changes, any new decisions on quantum and any changes in policy. Therefore, in each subsequent edition, the figures will increase from time to time. As there has been two years between the publication of the 13th and the 14th edition, the increases will reflect the changes over this two year period. It also continues to include an additional column of figures indicating the 10% uplift in general damages, this was outlined in the Court of Appeal case of Simmons v Castle 2012.The 10% uplift is included to reflect government reforms which meant that a success fee was no longer recoverable from the third party by the Claimant Solicitors.

The Judicial College Guidelines are not particularly straight forward and therefore the Claimant should always discuss the value of general damages with their Instructing Solicitor.

At Nayyars Solicitors we are experts at valuing personal injury claims. If you have been injured in an accident then give our team a call today on 0161 491 8520.

Melissa Cargill

Litigation Executive

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