The Government has been in debate over the costs of clinical negligence claims for many years. The argument has always been that the cost of litigation in a clinical negligence claim is too high and is often criticised as being disproportionate on a costs vs compensation analysis.
The Government therefore proposes to fix the costs of clinical negligence claims that have a value of £25,000 and under. This proposal means that costs on claims in this lower financial category will be fixed within an agreed bracket. Just because a claim has a lower compensation value does not make it any less important to the individual, nor does it make it less complex to deal with. These cases still require the experience and expertise that are applied to higher value claims as they are, in our view, equally as important.
Sadly, this will affect many individuals including families that have been affected by the maternity scandals across the UK, particularly where they may have lost a child or mother during pregnancy or birth and require representation at an inquest.
Understandably, individuals, including lawyers, will react to the fact that access to justice may be limited by the Government’s proposal. Switalskis Clinical Negligence Director and Solicitor Suzanne Munroe comments: “As lawyers, we want to provide our clients with the best possible service that we can. However, capping the costs in lower value claims will impact on the type of medical experts we can use to assist with evidence, which could be detrimental to any claim.”
Families have begun to approach the Health Secretary with a petition requesting that costs are not capped so that they can continue to obtain the answers and support they need during such devastating times.
We act for so many families who have suffered as a result of clinical negligence. We encourage anyone who has been affected by the care they have received from the NHS to contact us so that we can begin to support you too.