Settlements of hospital negligence compensation in Ireland could be delayed by up to 3 months following the implementation of the Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme.
The Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme is a new initiative that was introduced last week (on Friday 1st) that will enable the Department of Social Protection to recover welfare benefits paid to recipients of hospital negligence compensation in cases where the benefits relate directly to the plaintiff´s injuries.
Although likely to only affect the most seriously injured victims of hospital negligence, once a settlement of compensation is agreed, insurance companies (or the State Claims Agency) will have to apply to the Department of Social Protection for a statement showing the value of the qualifying welfare payments paid to the plaintiff over the previous five years.
The insurance company will then deduct the amount of the welfare payments from settlements of hospital negligence compensation, send the repayment of the welfare benefits to the Department of Social Protection, and send the balance of the compensation settlement to the plaintiff. The potential for delayed settlements is due to the procedures that are involved:
The Department of Social Protection has 4 weeks in which to send the insurance company the statement of benefits; after which the insurance company must submit the repayment of welfare benefits to the Department and wait for a certificate of repayment to be received before sending the balance of the compensation settlement to the injured plaintiff. Depending on the efficiency of the Department and the insurance company, settlements of hospital negligence compensation could be delayed by up to three months.
Plaintiffs waiting for settlements of hospital negligence compensation should note that the repayment of any welfare benefits you may have received is not your responsibility.
Potential plaintiffs considering making a claim for hospital negligence compensation should note that the receipt of welfare benefits does not disqualify you from claiming compensation.
The benefits to which the new rules apply are:
- Illness Benefit
- Partial Capacity Benefit
- Injury Benefit
- Incapacity Supplement
- Invalidity Pension
- Disability Allowance
If you are unsure about the new procedures relating to settlements of hospital negligence compensation, how to check any welfare deductions from your compensation settlement are accurate – and the appeals procedure if they are incorrect – it is recommended that you consult with a medical negligence solicitor as soon as possible.