Sunday, August 30, 2009

What Are the Charges of Making a Medical Negligence Claim?

Frequently when someone is considering making a claim for medical negligence compensation their first concern relates to legal costs.

What Are The Legal Costs?

The costs of medical negligence claims are high compared to other types of legal claims. The reason for this relates to not only the solicitor's time involved in looking into the case, but also the fact that other medical experts will need to become involved in the case to assess whether you have a good claim for compensation.

Usually, a solicitor's costs only relate to their time. It is the additional expert's costs, along with the costs of obtaining copies of medical records can make claims for medical negligence more costly.

In addition, the evidence required to prove that a Doctor or Consultant has been negligent is substantial. It is harder to win a medical negligence claim than it is to win a claim for a car accident.

Why Is It Harder To Make A Successful Medical Negligence Compensation Claim?

The test for most compensation claims is that someone owes you a duty of care (for example, another car driver) but, that they breach this duty of care (for example, drove into the rear of your car) and that as a result of this negligence you suffered injury. In a car accident it is relatively easy to assess whether the other driver has been negligent.

However, with a medical negligence claim, you must prove that this duty existed and rather than the Doctor did not meet this duty, you must prove that the Doctor or Consultant had acted so badly that no other group of medical professionals would have carried out the same treatment or failed to carry out necessary treatment. It is an extremely complicated test which I will not go into detail in this article, but it means that there is a substantial burden on a medical negligence solicitor to approve that the medical professional in question has been negligent.

Medical Evidence.

Your solicitor will need a medical report providing an opinion on whether medical negligence has been committed. This report alone can cost upwards of 1,000 pounds. After this report, if the expert believes there is a claim, further evidence will have to be obtained by the solicitor. It is not uncommon for the costs in medical negligence claims to run into tens of thousands of pounds, so it is important to consider what your options are for funding a case.

Funding Options.

1. Legal Aid.

You can still obtain legal aid for medical negligence claims. It is not necessarily easy to achieve, but if you do obtain legal aid, the Legal Aid Board will fund your case although if you are successful, they will expect to recover any costs paid.

2. Conditional Fee Agreement.

You may find a solicitor that will be prepared to take on your claim on a 'no win, no fee' basis. This will allow you to pursue your claim without paying your legal costs. Some solicitors will even fund the expense of obtaining medical evidence for you. You must check how much your solicitor will pay for you and what you are expected to contribute.

3. Privately Pay.

If you cannot find a solicitor who will act on a 'no win, no fee' agreement you may have to fund your case privately, but as stated the bill could run into tens of thousands of pounds.

Glynns are specialist Medical Negligence Solicitors and Personal Injury Solicitors offering free initial reviews of all claim inquiries and a variety of funding options.
Nick Jervis is a solicitor (non-practising) and a consultant to Glynns Solicitors.

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