I asked our Managing Partner, John Hall who has over 30 years experience as a litigation lawyer to comment:
" The reason for costs escalating in small value clinical negligence cases is because trusts persist in denying liability in claims that should be admitted to at an early stage.
Once a trust denies liability then inevitably significant costs can be incurred if an injured party is compelled to properly prepare a case and take it to court. "
Hunt said: ‘It’s important that when significant mistakes happen in the NHS, patients are able to have an open dialogue with a trust about what went wrong, receive reassurance of what is being learnt, and can discuss what form of recompense or redress may be appropriate. Legal action should only be part of this process. ‘Unfortunately, what we often see in lower cost claims is a deeply unfair system where unscrupulous law firms cream off excessive legal costs that dwarf the actual damages recovered. We believe this creates an adversarial culture of litigation, which is inflating insurance premiums and drawing away resource from the NHS at a crucial time.’ In the consultation, the government makes clear its plans to not affect the claimant’s entitlement to compensation or overall amount of damages awarded.