In Nuttal v Chew, heard on 22 March 2017 unreported, Leeds County Court found the Claimant's claim for physiotherapy treatment should be limited to the rates charged by the physiotherapist offered by the Defendant.
The Claimant and Defendant were involved in a road traffic accident. The Claimant sustained lower back injury and required rehabilitation treatment consisting of six physiotherapy sessions. The Defendant's insurers provided a letter to the Claimant offering to instruct a rehabilitation provider to assess the Claimant's needs for rehabilitation and if required, provide treatment for up to a cost of £41 per session.
The Claimant elected to receive physiotherapy treatment from a provider of her own choice and claimed special damages for physiotherapy costs totalling £455. The total cost included £50 for a telephone triage, £75 for an initial assessment and six sessions of treatment at a rate of £55 for each session.
Deputy District Judge Lingard found the principles established in Copley v Lawn, a credit hire case, should apply to the rate of physiotherapy treatment. Where a defendant has been willing to offer rehabilitation treatment for a defined cost, but a claimant decides to choose their own rehabilitation provider resulting in higher costs, the claimant will not be able to recover the costs in full.
The Claimant was awarded a total of £246 for six sessions of physiotherapy at the rate of £41 offered by the Defendant's insurers.
This is an example of the courts taking a common sense approach in cases where the claimant chooses to ignore the defendant's reasonable offer to provide the required rehabilitation treatment, in order for them to obtain a higher award in special damages.