Posted by Judith Leach, Barrister
Buyer beware: Why you should choose your clinical negligence solicitor carefully
As you may or may not be already aware, there has recently been an overhaul of funding particularly in relation to personal injury and clinical negligence claims. This was following the review by Lord Jackson. This has arguably created further risks which you should be aware when looking for a solicitor to deal with your medical negligence claim.
Before July 2013, all personal injury cases where the damages were valued at £10,000 or less were funded by way of a fixed fee for personal injury solicitor firms. Since 1 August 2013 this threshold was increased to £25,000. This resulted in many personal injury firms of solicitors diversifying into other areas such as clinical/medical negligence, as damages in such cases are generally higher on average.
The two main insurers for the NHS hospitals( the NHSLA) and private doctors such as GP’s (the MDU) have reported that they have now started to see an increase in new’ firms of solicitors dealing with medical negligence claims. These are firms that they recognise as having never done this type of work before. They have notes that with such firms the standard can be poor. Examples given are;
- Claims that are pursued when they have no supporting evidence from an appropriate medical practitioner. This in turn can have a very stressful effect on the clients who are led to believe that their claim has merit and then at the eleventh hour the claim has to be dropped. Even worse, the claim proceeds to Trial with little chance of success.
- The Schedule of Loss and Damage does not include all losses and therefore represents an undervaluation of the claim.
- There is a lack of understanding of the medicine and often the wrong expert is instructed to provide a report.
It is anticipated that the number of claims against solicitors dealing with this type of work will increase and professional negligence firms are gearing up to see an increase in professional negligence claims.
At Royds Withy King Solicitors we have a dedicated extremely experienced team of clinical negligence practitioners, some of whom also have medical/nursing backgrounds.
It is extremely important that you find the right solicitor with the right level of experience to pursue your claim for medical/clinical negligence. This is a very specialised area of law. If you think you have been miss-advised by a professional and have suffered a loss or possibly an undervaluation of your claim as a result, please contact the Professional Negligence Team for independent specialist advice.