Insurers face bill for accident victims

Insurance companies may be liable for “top-up” care for serious
accident victims after two test cases in the appeal court.

In one case an insurer sought to reduce damages for brain-injured
Philip Crookdake from £3m to £840,000. But the court
rejected its argument that the local authority was liable for the
cost of providing an adapted home and 24-hour care.

In the second, lawyers for Louise Sowden tried to increase her
personal injury damages from £1.2m to £2.8m in order to
pay for a private care regime in her own home. The judge ruled that
the insurance company was liable to pay for care on top of local
authority provision, but the level is to be fixed at a later

Belinda Schwer, an expert on care law, said these judgements
suggest that an insurer is liable to pay for top-up care if there
is a significant difference between what their local authority
would provide and their “reasonable need”, as assessed in a
personal injury damages case.

John Dickson, chair of Association of Directors of Social Services’
disabilities committee, predicted that councils would increasingly
advise accident victims on what they could claim on

“I think the government will expect us to be moving more into the
role of a broker in relation to personalised services and people’s
ability to secure them,” he said.

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