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Mourant Ozannes advises in largest ever UK personal injury case


The litigation team at law firm Mourant Ozannes has advised in a case in Guernsey’s Court of Appeal this week that resulted in the claimant being awarded the largest sum ever granted in a personal injury case in the UK.

A lump sum of nearly £14 million was awarded by the Court to former Guernsey Commonwealth Games cyclist Manny Helmot, who was involved in an accident whilst on a training ride in Guernsey in 1998 that left him with serious injuries.

In a previous hearing earlier this year, Mr Helmot had been awarded £9 million. However, Mourant Ozannes litigation specialist Partner Gordon Dawes, representing Mr Helmot, successfully argued that the ‘discount rate’ used to calculate the total lump sum awarded was unfair and did not accurately reflect Guernsey’s retail price index, the impact of wage inflation or the losses incurred by Mr Helmot through loss of future earnings and the cost of care.

Commenting on the landmark case, Robert Shepherd, Managing Partner of Mourant Ozannes, Guernsey, explained that this outcome has real implications for future personal injury hearings both in the Channel Islands, the UK and further afield:
"I am delighted that the Mourant Ozannes litigation team has been successful in securing the UK's largest ever personal injury compensation payout. I believe the Guernsey Court of Appeal has been just and fair in this case and we are extremely pleased for our client."

"This is a highly technical area of law and a landmark case that brings into focus the problem with lump sum damages in England and will undoubtedly be of interest to UK practitioners and insurers. It highlights the importance of taking into account the difference between wage inflation, the retail price index and future losses in earnings and the cost of care, to apply a much fairer calculation for lump sum awards like this in the future, in Guernsey, the UK and elsewhere. In addition, I’m sure it will put pressure on the Lord Chancellor to review what is referred to as the ‘discount rate’ for calculating such awards, which currently stands at 2.5 percent and has been criticized for being far too high."