The Health and Social Care (Community Health & Standard) Act 2003 came into effect on 29 January 2007. Part 3 of the Act makes provision for the establishment of a scheme to recover the costs of providing treatment to an injured person in all cases where that person has made a successful personal injury compensation claim against the third party. The provisions are not restricted to payments made as a result of insurance, and it is the person making the payment in the primary compensation claim who would be liable for the NHS charges. The legislation does not extend to disease cases.

This act brings a stage further the provisions that already exist for recovery of NHS charges in RTA cases. These are provisions to take into account contributory negligence in all cases where it is a factor in the settlement. The Regulations apply only to incidents that occur on or after 29 January 2007. The NHS Trust is asked to provide the details to determine the appropriate charge. This includes any ambulance transport used.

It is not mandatory for the compensator to apply for Certificate of NHS Charges prior to making a compensation payment. However compensators are encouraged to request a certificate before settlement. Once compensation has been paid the compensator must apply for the certificate in all injury cases.

Any payments due in respect of either a Certificate of NHS Charges or a Certificate of Recoverable Benefit should be included in the same cheque wherever possible.

We are not directly involved in the process of having to recover the money for the NHS. The liability for this is clearly on the defendants.

New decision on car hire charges

The court has held that, where an insurer sought to recover hire charges for a replacement vehicle provided to its assured after an RTA, the third party liable for the accident had to pay reasonable hire charges and was not concerned with the insurance arrangements between the insurer and its assured.

A collision caused the claimant to hire a vehicle that cost £610.46. The defendant admitted liability. The defendant was insured with DAS. The policy included the provision of a replacement vehicle at no cost in the event of an accident caused solely by another driver. Where DAS organised the provision of a hire vehicle its assured agreed to DAS being subrogated to the claim, which meant that DAS was able to stand in the claimant’s shoes and attempt to recover the hire charges.

DAS nominated a company that provided the claimant with a replacement vehicle. The claimant signed a hire agreement with that company. DAS paid the hire charges and DAS then sought to recover them from the defendant. The charge was no higher than the spot retail rate, which the claimant would have been charged had he personally arranged for the hire of a replacement vehicle.

The defendant’s Insurers claim that DAS received commission payments from the hire company in return for arranging for the supply of cars to those insured by DAS and that it should not have to pay the full sum. The court held, however, that the rate charged by the car hire company had been good value for money by comparison with other spot rates, and it was not appropriate to expect a replacement car to be hired at a corporate rather than the spot retail rate. Had the claimant gone to his local market to hire a car he would have paid the rate charged by the hire company or more. His claim was allowed in full.