Legislation watch
Published:  23 February, 2007

"As from 29 January 2007, a dormant provision in the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003 has been activated, allowing the NHS in England and Wales to recover the costs of treating persons who have incurred any sort of injury and who have successfully sued a negligent party for compensation. Equivalent steps are being taken in Scotland.

If, for example, an employee incurs an injury in the workplace that can be attributed to some form of negligence on the part of the employer, and the employee successfully sues his employer for compensation, any resulting NHS treatment costs can be claimed back by the NHS from the employer. Similarly, if a client, customer or member of the public suffers an injury in or around the employer's premises, which is held subsequently to be the responsibility of the employer, again the NHS will be entitled to recover the treatment costs.

In both cases, the costs will be met by the employer's insurance policies. The one caveat to this is where the employer's policy has an upper limit on the amount of cover provided in a personal injury case, the insured party - the employer - will be liable for the remainder.

The NHS' claim will be capped at £37,100. So the most serious cases, such as long-term treatment for fractures or stress-related conditions, will not lead to an indeterminate liability. Also, any contributory negligence on the part of the injured employee or customer will be taken into account in attributing liability to the employer."

- John Davies, head of business law, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants




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