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Written on 3rd March 2021 by Claire Roantree

Major trauma compensation claims are complex and can take time to reach settlement particularly when liability – the issue of who is at fault – has not been resolved or where injuries are severe and medical treatment is long.

It may not be possible to assess long term needs straight away due to the severity of injuries. Rehabilitation support and care may be required before an injured person has reached a stage where their long term prognosis and needs can be assessed. Meanwhile, the financial hardship to an injured person and their family is often increased by the financial worries caused by the additional costs of caring for someone with a serious injury or losing the former bread winner’s income.

Following a major trauma you are likely to have ongoing rehabilitation and treatment needs after you have been discharged from hospital which may include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychological treatment and speech and language therapy.

The aim of these treatments is to maximise your recovery and help you regain your mobility and independence while improving your psychological wellbeing.

Funding for rehabilitation can be obtained from the insurer of the party responsible for your accident either via a Rehabilitation Code payment or an interim payment. Early access to treatment and rehabilitation can help to improve your recovery outcome, minimise the impact of the accident on your life, help you to plan your future and where possible return to work or education.

What is a Rehabilitation Code payment?

This is funding provided by an insurance company to support the injured person’s rehabilitation and treatment costs whilst a compensation claim may be ongoing. It will be provided regardless of whether there is an agreement about fault for the injuries. The case manager will prepare a report on the injured person and their family’s needs referred to as an Immediate Needs Assessment (INA). The report makes recommendations to the insurance company about rehabilitation and support and, if agreed, the defendant’s insurance company will fund those recommendations in complex and life changing injury claims.

The Rehabilitation Code provides an approved framework for personal injury claims that enables the claimant’s legal representatives and the compensators to work together. It’s aim is to promote the use of rehabilitation and early intervention in the compensation process so that the injured person makes the best and quickest possible medical, social and psychological recovery.

It applies to Personal Injury Claims but not Clinical Negligence claims.

Where there is no agreement on liability, the parties may still agree to use the Rehabilitation Code and the defendant may still agree to fund the treatment costs by way of a Rehabilitation Code payment. 

At Boyes Turner we work hard to secure funds to help our clients make the best recovery they can through access to rehabilitation and support, whilst we process their compensation claim. This can be achieved through rehabilitation code funding or interim payments and we will discuss this with you from the outset of your claim.

In cases where liability is admitted but settlement is some way off, we can often help relieve our client’s financial hardship by requesting the other side to make a voluntary interim payment or, where this is refused, by applying to the Court for what is known as an interim payment.

What is an interim payment?

An interim payment is a part payment of compensation that is paid by the defendant during litigation to the claimant. The sum can vary significantly and is often used to fund treatment or specialist equipment, putting in place treatment or even to ease financial hardship. The amount of interim payment should be less than the expected total value of the claim as it will be deducted from the total settlement awarded at the conclusion of the claim.

When can an interim payment be requested and how?

An interim payment can be requested once liability has been admitted or proven against the defendant. This may take place early in the claim, sometimes even before proceedings have been issued or following a successful trial in respect of liability.

Where an interim payment is needed, before applying to the Court the claimant’s solicitors usually ask the defendant to make a voluntary interim payment, explaining how much is required and what it is intended for. If the defendant does not agree to make an interim payment or is unwilling to pay an amount sufficient to meet the claimant’s needs, then the claimant’s solicitor will make an application to the Court, justifying the sum requested in the context of the overall value of the claim and the reason that the interim payment is needed. Documentary evidence such as a witness statement and medical reports are usually provided in support.

Do you need to go to Court?

If the claim relates to a child or a protected party (someone who is represented by a “Litigation Friend” in the proceedings), the permission of the Court must be obtained before an interim payment is made, even if the defendant agrees to make the payment voluntarily. The claimant rarely needs to attend Court for this hearing.

At this stage, a Court of Protection Deputy may be appointed to oversee the management of the money for the claimant. At Boyes Turner, our Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Teams work closely with our own Court of Protection specialists to ensure that our client’s money is managed in accordance with the Court’s requirements but easily accessible to meet their needs.

What are the benefits of an interim payment?

An interim payment allows our clients to see what works for them and their family before settlement and helps to demonstrate what they will need in the long term. This allows us to claim the most suitable provision for the future.

Each individual and family circumstances are unique but our clients commonly use interim payments:

  • To buy and adapt a property so that the family home is suitable for the injured person’s needs;
  • To pay for a rental property whilst their existing property is adapted or a new property is found;
  • To purchase specialist treatment, aids or equipment which are not readily available on the NHS;
  • To purchase a wheelchair and regular seating assessments;
  • To put a care plan in place;
  • To put in place therapies such as physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, pain management, psychological support;
  • To assist with the additional costs of caring and providing for a family member with a disability.

At Boyes Turner we have helped hundreds of disabled clients and their families rebuild their lives after a serious personal injury or medical negligence. The support we give our clients in obtaining and using interim payments ensures that they can focus on rebuilding and participating in family life, whilst we work to achieve settlement of their claim.