The short answer to this is yes. 

It is a question that comes up many times when acting for clients in a personal injury or clinical negligence claim.  The issue has recently come before the High Court in judicial review proceedings brought by Wokingham Borough Council.

The Council challenged the decision of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman that when assessing an individual’s financial means for the purpose of eligibility for funded social care, an award of compensation in a personal injury claim cannot be taken into account.

The Council disagreed with this and went to the High Court in an attempt to quash the decision on the grounds of ‘double recovery’.

In the case involving Wokingham Borough Council, a lady had received a personal injury award of £1.3 million for medical negligence.  She applied to the Council for social-funded care to meet her needs.  When carrying out its financial assessment, the Council did not disregard the personal injury settlement and assessed her as having capital over the threshold to qualify for funded care.  She complained about this and her complaint was upheld by the Ombudsman. 

The position remains that whilst councils will expect people with capital over £23,250 to pay for their own care, some forms of capital must be disregarded, including a personal injury settlement.

This is good news for individuals whose injuries very often means a lifetime of care needs.  Not always does a personal injury claim get settled on a 100% basis of the cost of lifetime needs.  In those cases, there will be a shortfall in funds and so a reliance on local authority funding is necessary.

At Anthony Collins Solicitors, we have a team of lawyers who specialise in securing settlements for individuals who have suffered injuries. The work we do both during the litigation case and post-settlement includes helping our clients with getting assessments of needs for funded social care, as well as making sure that settlement awards have the security of a Personal Injury Trust, to protect an individual from loss of all means-tested benefits.  Within our team to add to the expertise in this specialist area we have a former social worker and former practice nurse.

Further information

For further information about any of the issues raised in this article, please contact Sarah Huntbach acts on behalf of clients who have suffered catastrophic and life-changing injuries including head and spinal injuries from road traffic accidents, birth injury claims and serious injuries following surgical errors. Sarah can be contacted on 0121 212 7476 or sarah.huntbach@anthonycollins.com

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