Phone hacking v. personal injury – time for some perspective?
Partner Marcus Weatherby believes it’s high time to bring a sense of fairness and perspective to damaging reports about personal injury claims…
I was glad to see that the newspapers finally settled the phone hacking cases and agreed amounts to compensate victims of unlawful hacking.
The roll-call of celebrities who have been awarded compensation for unlawful hacking is a lengthy one. Amongst them John Prescott, Steve Coogan and Gavin Henson – the Welsh rugby international – all received £40,000 to compensate them for invasion to their privacy.
Taken from the Judicial Study Guide used by the courts in the UK, here is a roll-call of the type of injury caused by someone else’s negligence you would need to sustain to be awarded similar levels of damages:
- Moderate brain damage in which concentration and memory are affected and the ability to work is reduced
- Loss of sight in one eye
- Total loss of hearing in one ear
- A serious leg injury meaning that the person is on crutches for the rest of their life.
Perhaps, you might say, we’re not comparing like with like. And it’s unfair to contrast those who are injured with those whose privacy has been invaded.
However frequently – in order to get a stage where they have been made an award – injured people are subjected to video surveillance and private investigation. It’s seen as fair game for a defendant to intrude into their life, even when nothing untoward is ever found!
Does this offend your sense of natural justice and fairness?