UK courts are awarding lower damages than they should in personal injury cases, according to government-backed research.
Judges consistently underestimate the impact of disability on post-injury earnings potential, said the report funded by the Economic & Social Research Council.
A move to a US-style system that takes account of labour market information in setting damages would result in a 25 per cent jump in average payouts, the report added.
Men in particular would benefit - their awards are far lower here than in the US.
The researchers found problems with the way the courts do their calculations. The person's earnings at the time of the injury, less any post-injury earnings potential, is multiplied by a figure representing the number of years' loss.
But they say the multiplier is not a precise or logical tool for calculating damages. "In particular, [it] takes virtually no account of the factors that influence the way an individual's earnings change over time," the researchers said.