Benefit Recovery

Benefit Recovery

Eighteen months ago a young lad rear-ended me at traffic lights. He didn’t see me, my bright yellow Vespa GTS 300 ‘Victor’ was written off and I had a long 12-month recovery as I’d fractured three vertebrae.

I got benefits because I’ve always paid my taxes, etc. However, the other side have now offered me £20,000 – but want to deduct the £5,000 I’ve received in state benefits. Why should I get less compensation?


Many of my clients struggle to get their head around this concept. However, under the Social Security (Recovery of Benefits) Act 1997, because you received state benefits because you couldn’t work, he/his insurer have to repay the state for the benefits you’ve received.

Under the law, if you claim for loss of earnings and received Universal Credit for example, there will be an offset. If this didn’t happen, you would get too much. For example, if you had a loss of earnings claim of say £5,000 and got this plus the £5,000 in benefits, you’d be £5,000 better off as a result of the accident. Whilst that would be nice, compensation is designed to put you in the same place you were before the accident.

The only caveat I’d add is your solicitor does need to check what losses you’re claiming for and what benefits you’ve received, because each case is different, so an offset doesn’t always apply.

Andrew ‘Chef’ Prendergast

On 2 Wheels – January 2020

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Posted by Andrew Prendergast. Last modified: December 9, 2019 at 10:39 am

Andrew has been riding motorcycles since he was 10 years old and currently rides a ZZR1400 as his daily commuter whether it is sunny or snowing. In addition, he is currently restoring an old Honda CB750 K1. Andrew practices across all areas of motorcycle law, with his practice involving both civil claims and motoring defence work.
Disclaimer: The legal advice and statements contained within this/these articles is correct at the time of printing. If you are seeking legal advice after a motorbike accident please contact us to speak directly with one of our lawyers.
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3 months ago

£20,000 compensation for 3 broken vertabrae? doesn’t sound much. This looks like it’s only compensation for lost earnings to date. If this is the only compensation on offer then where’s the compensation for ongoing needs, mental anguish, loss of utility, maybe loss of mobility etc…. (not to mention bike and gear). Don’t get hung up on the technicalities of payments and recoveries. Look at the total amount you will receive. E.g. 30+ years ago a broken leg (all three bones) and upper arm – 8 weeks off work in a low paid job. Even at a 50/50 compensation was £20k – less than 1k of that was for bike and gear.

About On 2 Wheels

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The O2W legal column is compiled by managing partner Andrew ‘Chef’ Prendergast and his bike-riding barristers and solicitors at White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors.

The firm deals with personal injury claims and its sister company, Motor Defence Solicitors, deals with motoring offences.

White Dalton lawyers have a vast knowledge of bike law - and they have full bike licences, too. They don’t act for insurance companies or the prosecution.

White Dalton is Britain’s premier specialist motorcycle law practice, and if its professionals don’t know the answer to your question, there probably isn’t one. Don’t rely on the advice from your insurance-appointed solicitor – get proper independent advice.

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