As reported by The Law Society Gazette, this week the Department of Health revealed plans for a new regime of fixed recoverable costs in most clinical negligence claims valued up to £25,000.
In a highly anticipated consultation, the government said that they are “committed to addressing the unsustainable rising costs of clinical negligence” by streamlining the legal process for “lower value” clinical negligence claims and introducing fixed recoverable costs.
In turn they believe that this would allow for the resolution of cases “at a lower, more proportionate” cost than under the current system and would also increase the proportion of claims resolved before involving the courts.
If introduced, claims would be allocated to either a “light track” or a “standard track” depending on their complexity and degree to which liability is agreed from the outset.
With regards to costs, these would be capped at £6,000 for standard track claims plus 20% of damages agreed. For those claims allocated to the ‘light’ track, proposed recoverable costs would be no more than £1,500 plus 10% of damages.
It should be noted that claims requiring more than two liability experts, those with genuine multiple defendants and those involving stillbirths or neonatal deaths are excluded, as are those where limitation is raised by the defendant as an issue.
While ministers insist that the proposals are intended to target legal costs rather than compensation, the reality is that the changes may mean that many specialist clinical negligence lawyers will not be able to take on those claims considered to be low value thus potentially restricting access to justice for many.
If you have concerns that you or a family member have experienced clinical negligence, we may be able to investigate a potential claim for you. You can contact Graystons Solicitors by telephone on 0151 645 0055 or by email at email@example.com.