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At some point during your compensation claim, your solicitor will mention a government department called the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU). It's nothing to be concerned about.

Working with this organisation is one of the things your solicitor will do for you while they're handling your claim.

Still, people making a no win no fee claim often search the internet to find out what the CRU does.

A lot of the online explanations are long and complex. We think it deserves a clear and jargon-free explanation.  

The CRU plays an important behind-the-scenes role in no win no fee compensation. It works with solicitors, insurance companies and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The CRU's job is to make sure the taxpayer is reimbursed for any state benefits you've received if you win your claim. You won't have any direct contact with them. Your solicitor will take care of everything.

  • The CRU will order the other side's insurers to pay the DWP for the cost of any state benefits you may have received because of your accident. These include benefit payments like universal credit, mobility allowance or income support.
  • It will also order the other side to pay the cost of any medical treatment you may have received from the NHS in the aftermath of your injury. Collectively these items are called ‘recoverable benefits'.

General damages, special damages and state benefits

Your solicitor calculates general damages for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by your injury. They'll also calculate any special damages you are owed.

  • Special damages are the financial losses you may have incurred personally on the back of your personal injury. These are things like lost earnings, the cost of specialist medical treatment or travel expenses. 
  • The other side will pay these to you as part of the overall compensation you receive in a successful claim.

Special damages also include the value of any state benefits you may have received as a result of your accident. These items are treated differently. The CRU will send a special certificate with the amount to your solicitor and the other side.  

The other side's insurers pay this portion of special damages direct to the DWP as you've already received those benefits. It means you're not paid twice for the same thing. It also means the taxpayer is fairly compensated by the other side for the benefits already paid to you. 

It's an important way of getting finances back to how they were before you had the accident. Not just for you but for everybody involved. Any ongoing state benefits you need as a result of your injury will be paid to you as normal.

Your solicitor will check everything for you

Your solicitor will check the figures on the CRU certificate and review them with you. If you think those figures are wrong, you can challenge them through a process called mandatory reconsideration.

There's a time limit for making a reconsideration application. It must be made within one month of the other side completing repayment of your benefits to the CRU. If you need to challenge their figures, your solicitor will explain everything in advance and handle things for you.

Remember, if you are unsure about anything, at any point of your claim, just ask your solicitor. They're there to help you make it right.