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Assistive Technology Claims - Andrew Williams, Exchange Chambers & Donna Cowan, Colin Clayton Assistive Technology Ltd

20/10/16. It’s hardly surprising that a severely injured claimant may require specialist IT equipment for leisure, education, communication or to counter specific disabilities. But Assistive Technology (“AT”) is a head of claim that can strike uncertainty into even the most bullish of lawyers.

Last year a few cases considered this head of claim, at least a couple of which can help focus our minds. Before we consider them, let’s remind ourselves that when it comes to compensation for future loss, a claimant is entitled to damages sufficient to meet her reasonable needs arising from her injuries. But the court must have regard to all the relevant circumstances.

Proportionality between the cost and benefit of a particular piece of equipment is relevant in determining whether a claimant’s reasonable needs extend to the expenditure in question. In the often-cited first instance decision Whiten v. St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust [2011] EWHC 2066 Swift J explained that when considering these issues, the court has to consider whether a substantially similar result could be achieved by less expensive means.

What can make this head of claim a little daunting is the increasing range of mind-boggling, impressive technology … often with a price tag to match...

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