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5.7.3 Previous NEL scores for a different injury
Each injury must be assessed separately under section 27 and delegates must determine the NEL that the claimant suffered as a result of the specific injury being assessed. In doing so, delegate’s should not take into account the effect of previous/separate injuries and must not purport to ‘offset’ the NEL payable in respect of one injury against the NEL paid in respect of a separate/previous injury.
Careful consideration of the NEL scores becomes especially important where a subsequent injury impacts on the same bodily system as one previously compensated, or affects lifestyle in a similar way. In these cases, it a delegate should seek clarification from the veteran and/or treating medical practitioner to obtain evidence of the specific effect of the injury being assessed.
Due to the subjective nature of NEL, and the discretion available to delegates, no rigid instruction can be applied to every case. Delegates should be guided by the medical and other evidence specific to each case in deciding whether scores are justified.
If a veteran’s subsequent claim relates to a right knee injury and they previously received compensation in respect of a left knee injury, it may be difficult to distinguish NEL scores for categories such as mobility. The mobility score for each NEL claim for the left and right knee injury can be awarded unless there is clear evidence that shows the NEL score for the second injury does not include any additional lifestyle effects of the client's original injury.
For further information about the assessment of NEL for each separate injury, see Chapter 3.5.2 - Each injury should be assessed separately.