Smith v Manchester awards

The following PI & Clinical Negligence practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Smith v Manchester awards
  • The nature of the award
  • Assessing the risk
  • Risk the claimant will be out of work
  • Valuing the award
  • Practice points
  • The future of Smith v Manchester awards

Smith v Manchester awards

The nature of the award

Where an injured person is disadvantaged in the labour market as a result of a residual disability resulting from an injury, they are entitled to claim a head of damage commonly referred to as a Smith v Manchester award, named after the case that popularised the claim. A Smith v Manchester award is sometimes described as an award for loss of earning capacity.

After sustaining an injury a claimant may return to their former work at the same pay or similar work with the same or better salary. In these circumstances there may be no obvious loss but the claimant may in fact be worse off in the future eg if they lose their present job they may be at a disadvantage in getting new work. For example, a visible eye or hand injuries may lead to discrimination or they may have to take time off for a painful back or future surgery.

A Smith v Manchester award is usually made as a separate lump sum award. However, practitioners should note that the 6th edition of the Ogden tables introduced a more scientific method (now contained in the current 8th edition of the Ogden tables) of assessing the impact of a disability on a claimant’s earning capacity. Application of this approach leads to higher awards and should always be

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