The issue of Interest on damages in Personal Injury matters, where the law of England and Wales applies, is often overlooked and calculations are often wrong. The complexities arise from that fact that different rates and different periods apply.
First and foremost, the award of interest is at the court’s discretion.
· Interest on general damages
General damages include compensation for the pain, suffering and Loss of amenity. A claimant is entitled to the simple rate of interest, and it is well established, on the basis of case law that this is awarded at a rate of 2% per annum from the date of service of the claim form until the date of trial or settlement.
· Interest on special damages
Special damages compensate for financial losses suffered as a consequence of the accident and the objective is to put the claimant in the financial position he/she would have been, but for the accident. As a claimant should not benefit financially from special damages, the applicable rate on Special damages is lower than for General Damages. The rate applicable is the one payable on the court special account and this fell to its lowest on 20th March 2020, i.e., 0.1%. This would apply to medical expenses or medical treatment required after the accident for example. Where the loss/es continue(s) to accrue from the date of accident until the date of trial, half of the appropriate rate will be applied, so 0.05%. This could be the case for ongoing loss of earnings or care and assistance.
For personal injury matters where foreign law applies, different rules may apply.