Q. I suffered an injury at work and brought a claim against my employer. The claim looks like it will be settled, but my solicitor recently sent me a copy of a letter from the Compensation Recovery Unit. This has a list of benefits I’ve been paid and I’m worried I’m going to have to repay my benefits.
This doesn’t seem fair as I needed financial support whilst I wasn’t working. Why has this happened and do I have to pay this money back?
A. When a claim is made for personal injury, your employer’s insurers will notify the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) to check if you have claimed and been paid any benefits as a consequence of your work accident. This is a general principle of the laws concerning compensation - you cannot be compensated for the same injury twice. Even if you have claimed and been paid benefits as a result of the accident, the benefits paid are not always deducted from your final compensation. Compensation for general damages (money paid for the pain, injury and suffering from the accident) are ignored. You must, however, give credit for certain types of special damages (these are generally payments that can be quantified financially, such as lost earnings, paid carers or payments to help with mobility costs). So if, for example, you claimed PIP or DLA for difficulties with walking following the accident, you must give credit for these benefits if you claim compensation from your employer. You yourself won’t have to pay anything directly, your compensation will simply be reduced. Any NHS treatment or ambulance service charges incurred as a result of the accident will be repaid by your employer/their insurer, but this will not be taken off your compensation. If you are still receiving any means-tested benefits and get a lump sum capital payment, then the DWP will disregard the lump sum payment for a period of 52 weeks. You should still notify the DWP that you have received compensation so they can apply the relevant disregard.