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The more money involved the harder the insurance companies will fight

Date: 02 Jul 2015

Bumblebee Design

Terry Donovan, partner at Kingsley Napley, also says if your wealth is made up of investments, and does not depend upon you physically working, there might be no financial loss arising from your injury.

 

Personal injury claims generate great sums of money. Where does it go to?

If you had an injury that prevents you from working, the compensation will include a sum to reflect your loss of earnings – both present and future.  Therefore if your income is in the millions of pounds every year, this could be a very substantial sum.  However, if your wealth is made up of investments, and does not depend upon you physically working, there might be no financial loss arising from your injury.  Therefore the compensation will be limited to damages for pain and suffering caused by the injury, and the overall award might be significantly smaller. 

 

Is it possible to forum shop with personal injury claims like with divorce?

Forum shopping may be popular for divorces but you can’t do the same for personal injury. Ordinarily, the proceedings must be brought in the country where the injury occurred or where you incur the income loss.  So, for example, a foreign national who is visiting the UK, and sustains an injury whilst here would be able to bring proceedings in the English courts.  Alternatively, if a foreign national is resident in the UK, but is injured in another country because of the negligence of a UK based company or individual it might be possible to bring the claim here, because both parties would be in this jurisdiction. 

In some circumstances it is possible to have a choice of jurisdictions within which to bring a claim.  It is then essential that a high-net-worth individual takes expert legal advice, because different countries have varying rules on how compensation is calculated.  For example, in some US states, punitive damages are available, and set by a jury.  This might result in a significantly higher award than in countries like the UK where damages are limited to the actual financial loss.

 

What trends do you see in the personal injury sector for UHNW’s that you could tell us about?

Ultimately, most compensation claims are paid by the insurance industry, which is always very reluctant to accept liability, and to pay the full amount of compensation that is properly due.  This is particularly the case in claims involving high-net-worth individuals seeking to recover substantial sums in compensation.  In broad terms, the more money involved the harder the insurance companies will fight.  This means that legal claims for high-net-worth individuals tend to be different from those where the losses are not as high.