Where a claimant's car is damaged by the negligence of the defendant, the damages recoverable by the claimant for the loss of use of the car would be the basic hire rate of the replacement car. However, damages may be higher if the claimant is impecunious and can only hire a car with credit terms (see eg Lagden v O'Connor ). One of this issues in this case was what is meant by "impecunious". In Lagden v O'Connor, the test was set out as follows: "what it signifies is inability to pay car hire charges without making sacrifices the plaintiff could not reasonably be expected to make".
In this case, at first instance it had been held that the claimant was not impecunious because she could have bought a replacement car of the value of the one which was written off by depleting her accounts which were in credit and spending up to her credit card limit. Turner J has now held that the judge was wrong to reach that conclusion. He said that "I cannot ignore the fact that by reducing her capital to the bare minimum and increasing her debt, the claimant would have been exposing herself to the risk of a serious financial challenge in the event that even a modest but unexpected financial reverse might have afflicted her before her claim was satisfied. Impecuniosity need not amount to penury".