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The dangers of sending damages

Philippa Barton advises on what to be aware of when acting for vulnerable clients and those receiving benefits, and how to safeguard clients who may not be able to manage a damages award in their own best interests

6 December 2016

Most personal injury practitioners will at some time or another act for vulnerable clients, such as those with head injuries, learning disabilities, or mental illness. While these clients may have enough capacity to give instructions on the conduct of their claim, this does not necessarily mean they have the capacity to manage large sums of money, and failure to properly consider a client’s capacity to handle a damages award can have disastrous consequences.

Practitioners may also find they are passing on damages to clients who are currently receiving benefits or may do so in the future. Again, special care is needed here as failure to take account of this could mean an individual losing the right to benefits or publicly funded social care.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 safeguards the interests of people over the age of 16 who lack mental capacity. Under the Act, there ...

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