Is Capping Legal Costs in Medical Negligence Claims the Answer? (Part 1)
In a series of blogs, Jennie Jones discusses proposed changes in medical negligence claims and the impact on patients and the NHS.
In 2015 the government announced it would be consulting on plans to limit the legal costs that would be paid by the NHS in negligence claims. Now, while initial thoughts are: ‘Great, this money could be spent on more nurses, doctors and equipment’, would this be the answer to solve the financial strain on NHS trusts’ and more importantly, improve patient care?
The NHS pays out eye watering sums in terms of compensation claims (which do include legal costs of those claiming). We have to ask ourselves, why are these amounts being paid?
1. Greedy Lawyers
The law already restricts what can and cannot be claimed in terms of legal costs. Changes in 2013 meant that success fees in “No Win No Fee” arrangements were curtailed and no longer paid by the Defendant (ie NHS). The courts will also restrict costs by considering whether it was reasonable to incur them, they are reasonable in amount, and critically, that they are proportionate. The impact of these changes is still flowing through the legal system but those affected by medical negligence where the claim is not financially worth a considerable amount may struggle to find a solicitor willing and able to help them. To stay in business, solicitors must consider each case carefully and assess its value and merits.
Read tomorrow’s blog when Jennie Jones continues to discuss whether the proposed changes to medical negligence claims will improve patient care and standards in the NHS.