By Mark Henley
NUTTAL V CHEW (UNREPORTED)
On 22.3.17 I represented the Defendant’s insurers at a Stage 3 road traffic accident assessment of damages hearing before Deputy District Judge Lingard in the Leeds County Court, at which the rates of charge recoverable for physiotherapy treatment received by the Claimant were limited to the rates charged by the physiotherapist whose treatment was offered by the Defendant’s insurers.
This judgment was given on the following facts.
The Claimant suffered a lower back injury in a road traffic accident on 28.4.16.
By letter to the Claimant’s solicitors dated 5.5.16, which was included in the Stage 2 documents before the Court, the Defendant’s insurers stated, “Please note we are able to and willing to instruct a Rehabilitation Provider to assess your client’s needs for rehabilitation and provide rehabilitation as required at a cost of £41 per session. We will therefore only consider any rehabilitation costs up to £41 per session, as per the Rehabilitation code 2007. We also bring your attention to the judgement in the case of Copley v Lawn in respect of mitigation”.
6 sessions of physiotherapy were recommended by the Claimant’s medicolegal expert in a report dated 24.5.16.
The Claimant chose to obtain treatment from a physiotherapist of her own choice: and claimed special damages for physiotherapy costs totalling £455, comprised of invoices for £50 for “telephone triage”, £75 for “initial assessment”, and £55 each for 6 sessions of physiotherapy treatment.
The Deputy District Judge accepted the argument that special damages for physiotherapy treatment should be limited to the cost of 6 sessions of treatment at the rate of £41 per session, which would have been charged by the physiotherapist offered by the Defendant’s insurers, totalling only £246.
The Deputy District Judge found that the principles, applied by the Court of Appeal to the rates of charge for credit hire vehicles which were recoverable in damages, in the case of Copley v Lawn  EWCA Civ 580 were applicable to the rates recoverable for private physiotherapy treatment: and that a Claimant could not recover the full costs resulting from her making her own choice of physiotherapy treatment at a rate higher than the rates which she knew would have been charged had she accepted an offer of alternative treatment made by the Defendant’s insurers.