When a motorcyclist from Liverpool was hit by a car back in 2001 he probably couldn’t have imagined his case would end up being a focal point at the Supreme Court as a point of general public importance.
The Supreme Court has decided that a rule that protected expert witnesses through immunity for over 400 years should be scrapped allowing them to be sued in the civil courts. This is a decision that has been welcomed by personal injury solicitors in the UK.
The victim of the road traffic accident, Paul Wynne Jones of Liverpool, on the recommendation of the expert witness, had to settle for a much smaller settlement than would have been the case if he was allowed to pursue the driver for damages. Wynne Jones, unhappy with this, decided to go down the route of professional negligence and issue proceedings against the expert witness which was thrown out when a High Court judge ruled that the expert witness was entitle to immunity. The case eventually ended up at the Supreme Court where the landmark decision was made by a majority of 5 to 2.
Lord Phillips said of the decision: “All who provide professional services which involve a duty of care are at risk of being sued for breach of that duty. They customarily insure against that risk.
“It would be quite wrong to perpetuate the immunity of expert witnesses out of mere conjecture that they will be reluctant to perform their duty to the court if they are not immune from suit for breach of duty.”
Personal Injury and Professional Negligence cases often go hand in hand especially when the victim is unhappy with their damages. QualitySolicitors Keith Park’s Professional Negligence team will review your case which generally, after an initial discussion with you, can be carried out on a No Win No Fee basis. Our Personal Injury department can also assist by reviewing any previous personal injury claims you have made in the last 6 years to ensure that you got the maximum amount of compensation possible first time round.