Pryers Solicitors

Capping legal costs in medical negligence claims will damage justice

Capping legal costs in medical negligence cases has been raised again today.

The BBC has reported that £110m has been paid out in Northern Ireland to medical negligence cases over the past three years.

In June this year the NHS Litigation Authority reported that in 2012/13 the NHS paid £274,861,000 in legal fees in medical negligence cases.

These costs to the NHS have caused some officials to demand a limit on legal fees in claims where compensation would be below £100,000, as they see these claims, as “low value”.

Anyone who has suffered because of negligence by a medical professional would question if a case under £100,000 was truly “low value”, as it is a small price compared to the suffering they have, and often continue to experience.

Officials lay the blame with the legal teams, but forget the complex circumstances that can surround medical negligence claims.

Liability isn’t always clear and legal teams are required to gather information from medical experts and other professionals. This is not free or straightforward.

The capping of fees for cases worth under £100,000 could mean a limited number of experts used in a case, threatening access to justice for the person who has suffered serious injuries.

It could lead to a reduction of cases being brought to court, meaning the claimant has been failed not once by the state, but twice.

Capping the amount that can be spent on a case will be detrimental to the defendant and their on-going situation. The human costs of negligence in the medical professional will always outweigh the financial costs.

Do you think that you may be a victim of medical negligence? Then contact one of our experts. Pryers are a leading national firm of Medical Negligence Lawyers and have extensive experience of cases involving negligent medical treatment. Our dedicated team of lawyers and experts are well equipped to investigate and advise on all issues of medical treatment.