It is easy to see laws as clear cut, well-established and definitive, but in reality they are open to change and interpretation. This results in a constantly evolving legal system, with change often brought about by special cases that set new precedents and redefine how laws are understood or enforced.
The case of Ian and Sally Knauer illustrates this point; Mrs Knauer had worked in Guy’s Marsh Prison in Dorset when she was exposed to asbestos in the walls, in turn leading to her mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer, and her eventual death. In July 2014 her widowed husband was awarded £650,000 in damages following a personal injury claim that showed that the prison were aware of the asbestos problem.
However, despite the payout, the case is still ongoing – Mr Knauer and his solicitor are now taking the case to the Supreme Court to argue that rather than be given the damages in one lump sum, the payments should actually be made in instalments throughout what would have been Mrs Knauer’s working life.
If the court sides with the claimant then it could have a dramatic impact on the way personal injury claims are handled in the future. What will likely remain the same, however, is the need for forensic accounting experts to aid in the process.
In cases such as Mrs Knauer’s, in which the victim lost her life, the amount of compensation has to come from two main calculations: the first is the cost of the disease to the Knauers while Mrs Knauer was still alive, including the cost of health care, loss of earning during the illness and diminished quality of life for the whole family; then a second calculation is added which takes into account future losses, again including the loss of earnings and pension plans that might have been built up, amongst many other things.
The highly trained forensic accountants at Frenkels Forensics are experienced in understanding the full range of factors that must be calculated within a compensation claim, thereby helping either a claimant or defendant arrive at a suitable and clearly-evidenced sum.
For expert help in making or defending against a personal injury claim, contact Frenkels Forensics for an independent appraisal.
By Vitek Frenkel – find me via Google+.