I have always paid into the system and when I got spanked off my VFR1200F by an old Capri (Yes, you read that right. A Capri! Complete with furry dice!) I got benefits as I couldn’t go to work.

I usually earn around £30,000 net per year. Over the past three years I have had just shy of £20,000 in benefits, which were a godsend as it meant we could keep our heads above water. After several operations, I am now ready to settle my claim. However, my solicitor reckons I now need to account for the benefits I’ve had from the State.

I am fuming and see no reason why the defendants should benefit because I paid my taxes. I’ve not yet spoken to my solicitor, but I am thinking of sacking her and sorting this out myself. What do you think?


Firstly, before binning your solicitor off, I would give yourself a couple of days to calm down and gather your thoughts. Thereafter, give her a bell and the chance to talk you through things. I suspect she is right as there is something called the Social Security (Recovery of Benefits) Act 1997.

Under the law, the Capri driver’s insurer will have to repay the State for the benefits you have had because of the accident. So to be clear, they cannot ‘benefit’ from the benefits.

As for you, as a general point, you can’t ‘double recover’ in England and Wales and compensation is meant to put you in the same place you were, but for the collision. Therefore, if you were claiming, say, £90,000 for your lost income (three years at £30,000) you will need to deduct the £20,000 you have had in benefits to help you because you lost income. If not, you would get too much money, i.e. £90,000 plus £20,000 = £110,000.

The only caveat I would add is that your solicitor needs to carefully check the benefits you have had are those which can be offset under the law.

Andrew Prendergast

More Bikes September 2021