‘New’ expert cannot testify in UK brain injury case

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The UK High Court has refused an insurer permission to rely on a new expert whose evidence reduced the estimated life expectancy of a personal injury claimant. A Law Gazette report notes that the defendant in Chaplin v Ben Pistol Allianz Insurance plc had sought to introduce the evidence of statistics specialist Professor David Strauss, in a case where two experts had already submitted their joint report.

Justice Jay ruled that the insurer had failed to show a relevant and sufficient change in circumstances that would allow for this evidence to be admitted four months before trial. He agreed that any adjournment of the trial date – made likely by admitting new evidence – would be “intolerable” for the claimant’s family.

He rejected Allianz’s argument that the claimant would have little option but to accept the Strauss evidence as authoritative and reliable, adding: “Assuming that new data were provided, the claimant would be entitled to have it subjected to appropriate scrutiny by an expert in medical statistics; it would not have to be taken as Gospel.”

The court heard that the dispute came as part of a claim by the victim of an RTA who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and is wholly dependent on others for his care needs. It was accepted his life expectancy has been significantly reduced, and the parties’ existing experts were “not far apart” on by how much. In contrast, the issue of the Strauss evidence was worth a seven-figure sum to the parties, the court heard.

 

Full Law Gazette report

 

Judgment

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