Insurers could save millions of pounds after a landmark High Court decision was made in the case of Todd vs Bell on the question of long-term care.

The court ruled that, as the existing means testing regime allowed personal injury claimants to receive rehabilitation and accommodation free of charge under certain circumstances, the claimant could not maintain a claim against insurers for the costs of such services.

Keith Popperwell, of law firm Silverbeck Rymer's defendant insurance division, said: “It is a breakthrough for insurers concerning the ability of local authority to charge for care and accommodation.”

The case was brought by a local authority in Wakefield against Royal & Sunalliance, the insurer of the negligent driver who seriously injured four-year-old Dean Bell in a road accident in 1981.

The authority, which houses Bell at a care centre, was attempting to claim back the costs of his care and accommodation.

Allianz Cornhill technical claims manager Bill Gayler said: “The judgment in this case suggests there could be savings for the industry.

“However, the majority of claimants who need care and assistance remain in their own homes and purchase commercial care or are looked after by their own families. It remains a possibility that this case will go before the Court of Appeal.”

Silverbeck Rymer is holding a seminar at Lloyd's on August 1 to explain in detail how the savings can be made. Additional subjects for discussion include increases in reserve following the changes to the discount rate and new methods of case management.