Bell v Todd and South Tyneside MBC (9 August 2001) (unreported)

If a person is going to receive damages from a tortfeasor but is also subject to the Court of Protection, because s/he is not able to manage his or her own property and affairs, such that the damages will be administered by that Court, the local authority which is responsible for provision of care and attention through a residential or nursing home placement will not be able to take either the capital or the income into account for the purposes of the National Assistance (Assessment of Resources) Regulations, and it is therefore arguable that the tortfeasor does not have to pay damages for long term care, because no expense will be incurred by the client. The client becomes entitled to income support, despite his or her damages payment, because the income from the damages is treated as capital and disregarded for income support purposes.

The case does not decide whether it would be a failure to mitigate one’s losses to claim damages to enable the client’s Receiver to arrange private care for the client, despite the availability of effectively free services from the local authority. The principle does not apply if the person can be provided with domiciliary care in a home of their own, rather than National Assistance Act care.

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