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Detailed Practice Notes written by our Professional Support Lawyers, guiding you through the key issues in each topic.
CRU and NHS chargesRecoverable benefits
A claimant will often receive state benefits as a result of his accident and the Department for Work and Pensions operates a system for recovering these benefits from the Compensator (either the defendant or in most cases the defendant's insurers) via the Compensation Recovery Unit. The compensator is in turn entitled to recoup certain benefits against three types of loss:
loss of earnings
cost of care
loss of mobility
The compensator cannot offset recoverable benefits against general damages, future losses or medical expenses. In addition, the compensator can only offset recoverable benefits as against the three specified heads of loss on a 'like for like' basis, ie income support can only be offset against loss of earnings.
Recoverable benefits can only be offset if they were received by the claimant in the five years following the date of the accident or five years from when benefits were first claimed in disease cases.
There are a number of exempt payments, including compensation payments made under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and in Fatal Accident Act claims, which are exempt from payment.
Reporting requirements to the CRU
The defendant should obtain the relevant information from the claimant to register the claimant's case with the Compensation Recovery Unit as soon as details of the claim are received. The claim will then be registered and a Certificate of Recoverable Benefits will be issued setting out details off all benefits. An up to date certificate should always be obtained before the defendant effects any settlement offer and the DWP can take action if a claim is settled without proper notification. Once settlement has been achieved the defendant must notify the CRU and pay the relevant amount of recoverable benefits to the Department of Work and Pensions.
Part 36 offers
If either of the parties wish to make a Part 36 offer they must state in their offer the amount of the gross compensation and whether that offer is made without any regard for liability for recoverable benefits or if it includes recoverable benefits. In effect, the party must therefore stipulate whether the offer is made gross or net and provide the appropriate figures. If a Certificate of Recoverable Benefits is not available at the time the offer is made the party effecting the offer must apply to the CRU for an up to date certificate and provide the benefit details within seven days of receipt.
Interim payments and structured settlements
When a compensator makes an interim payment all recoverable payments accrued up to the date of the payment must be paid back to the Department of Work and Pensions. Any further recoverable benefits accrued after this payment date will need to be discharged upon settlement of the claim.
When there is a settlement including a periodical payments order the date of that order will be classed as a single compensation order and all further payments will be disregarded.
Contributory negligence and multiple compensators
Any deductions for contributory negligence should be assessed before calculating recoverable benefits.
When there are multiple compensators involved in a single claim all of the compensators will be jointly and severally liable to the Department of Work and Pensions for the recoverable benefits. It is usual practice for the compensators to act together so that only one compensation payment is made. Sharing agreements are often entered which can incorporate provisions for a division on liability.
Reviewing or appealing the Certificate of Recoverable Benefits
A party can ask for the Certificate of Recoverable Benefits to be reviewed if they believe that:
the certificate was issued without taking into account certain facts
the CRU had incorrect or insufficient information at the time the certificate was issued
a mistake has been made in the certificate's preparation
there are grounds for an appeal
A party can ask for the Certificate of Recoverable Benefits to be appealed if:
any amount, rate or period specified in the certificate is wrong
the certificate shows benefits which were not paid as a result of the index event
the certificate shows benefits which have not or will not be paid to the claimant
the compensation payment made was not as a consequence of the index event
When a claimant is successful in claiming compensation as a result of a road traffic accident the NHS is entitled to recover an amount to cover the cost of the claimant's hospital treatment from the compensator. This scheme was extended from the 29 January 2007 to also cover employer, public and product liability claims.
The amount recoverable is based on a tariff system and relates to either treatment provided with admission or without admission to hospital but not both. From the 29 January 2007 the compensator may also be liable for ambulance charges.
The parties can request that the Certificate of NHS Charges be reviewed or appealed.
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