15 November 2010
Smoking: are these issues really new?
I read in the press recently that the large government campaign which I am sure we have all been seeing on the television, radio ads and posters, has not been effective in reducing the number of people who smoke.The purpose of course was to assist those that do smoke to seek help. Giving up smoking, particularly for those who have smoked for many years, is far from easy and I am sure that we all recognise that fact. The long term intention was to reduce the budget to the NHS. It is well known that smoking kills. If it does not do so directly, it certainly contributes to conditions which can develop which ultimately become life threatening.The long term goal therefore was commendable and the reason that I am writing about the campaign, other than stepping very briefly onto my soapbox to add my voice to a debate which has already been spoken about ad infinitum, is to raise an issue of life expectancy.It has long been the case, and even more so over the last few years, that the way one calculates losses for the future is by reference to actuarial tables.I have written a blog separately on generally how losses are calculated. I explained previously that if one for example has a claim for loss of earnings and the medical evidence indicates that loss is to continue for the future how does one calculate what losses are justifiable and reasonable up until that person would have retired from their employment, thereafter up until they reach state retirement if they say they would have found alternative work (and can convince a Court that this is more likely than not to have occurred rather than just a fanciful idea) and perhaps even losses thereafter.The simple way this is done is by looking at the net annual earnings that we are saying the injured person would have earned and then applying a multiplier (for example x 10.5 or x 12.2 or x11.5 etc) indicating the number years over which we can claim. Mutiplying the lump sum by this figure then gives the lump sum which equates to the amount we are claiming for the lost years.If there are separate periods to up until normal retirement, thereafter earnings loss to state retirement and thereafter, loss for loss there will be what is known as split multipliers so you have a multiplier for the first period of loss, a multiplier for the second period of loss and perhaps even in some circumstances for the third period of loss as appropriate.In rather a long winded sort of way I am trying to explain that the multiplier must take into account other eventualities.In a later blog I will discuss the potential issues of agreeing compensation for a claimant who smokes, or who lives their life 'unhealthily'. Tristan Hallam is a partner in Personal Injury in the London office of Russell Jones & Walker. If you or a member of your family has suffered an accident or injury call our expert personal injury solicitors on 0800 916 9046, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our specialist personal injury team will review your compensation claim for free.
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