[A more recent article on the Judicial College Guidelines is available here.]
The 11th edition of the Judicial College’s “Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases” has been published.
In the foreword to the Guidelines, the Rt. Hon. Dame Janet Smith D.B.E, a retired Judge, says they provide “…not merely a useful tool but an indispensable one” when assessing quantum (the “value” of an injury/symptoms).
The Guidelines are colloquially known by solicitors and barristers as “the JSB”, owing to the Judicial College’s predecessor organisation being known as the “Judicial Studies Board”.
Of particular interest is a significantly revised and extended section relating to “Chronic Pain”.
Save in respect of CRPS no attempt has been made to sub-divide different pain conditions. Instead guidance is based in particular on the impact, severity and prognosis of the condition.
Some of the factors to be taken into account, include:
• The level of pain
• The impact of symptoms
• The effect on the injured person’s ability to work
• The need for medication and how that affects daily functioning
• Treatment received and needed and its (likely) effect
• What the future is likely to hold (prognosis)
Bruce Dyer, a solicitor specialising in chronic pain at BLB Solicitors said:
“This is a very welcome and long-awaited improvement to the guide that most personal injury lawyers and judges use as a starting point for assessing quantum. It suggests that at long last judges are becoming more aware of chronic pain and its potentially life changing consequences.”