Proposed changes to fees for Clinical Negligence cases could cause some cases not to be pursued
Madeline Seibert, Partner Medical Negligence highlights the recent news that the Department of Health is considering introducing fixed legal fees for clinical negligence cases where damages do not exceed £100,000. This will include a high number of complex and tragic fatal accident cases where the proposed regime is likely to cause a substantial inequality of arms between health care providers and bereaved families leading to further restrictions on access to justice for patients and their loved ones.
Madeline concurs with the following statement from APIL Chief Executive, Deborah Evans.
“Worthwhile, but complicated, cases can result in relatively low damages but still require money to investigate. For example, the level of compensation for a death is shockingly low, and the cost for a lawyer to pursue the claim could outweigh it. If fees were reduced and fixed, these cases might never be able to be pursued or investigated. How can that possibly be right when a patient or a patient’s family suffers such an injustice? Just because a case costs more to run than the resulting compensation, does not mean that it should never be brought. Compensation does not ‘take money away’ from the health service. Negligence does. The most effective way to save money, and the only fair way for patients, is to reduce claims by cutting the negligence at source,”.