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Defendants may soon be made to take on more responsibility to the parties they have injured

Andre Crofton was a severely brain damaged victim of alleged clinical negligence who required full-time care for the rest of his life (a further 40 years life expectancy according to the experts in the case). His legal team persuaded the judge at first instance that his own accommodation and privately-funded care arrangements were a reasonable requirement, but a significant part of the total care award – some £1.7m out of a total £3.5m – was deducted to avoid double recovery. The judge had made a finding of fact that even if the claimant was the recipient of a large award of damages, the local authority would continue to assess him as needing care and would make significant direct payments to him amounting to £68,000 per year in satisfaction of their statutory obligations.

The Court of Appeal clarified the ‘labyrinthine’ legislative regime and then remitted the whole of the direct payments issue to the trial judge (Crofton v NHSLA [2007]). On 13 November, 2008 the High Court approved a final settlement in the litigation, without further trial of the issue. The law as it now stands states that:

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