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August 29th 2012

Medical Negligence

Is no win no fee really to blame for legal actions?

Is no win no fee really to blame for legal actions?

A story in the Law Society Gazette blames the rise of clinical  negligence claims on “no win no fee” legal actions. http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/doctors-blame-039no-win-no-fee039-rise-legal-actions

A story in the Law Society Gazette blames the rise of clinical  negligence claims on “no win no fee” legal actions. http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/doctors-blame-039no-win-no-fee039-rise-legal-actions

We are surprised that the Medical Defence Union (MDU) deny an increase in claims indicates that clinicians are to blame. 

Jill Harding, head of claims for the MDU, denied that clinicians were to blame. ‘The increase in claim numbers is not, we believe, driven by deteriorating standards of care, or a change in the underlying type of incidents that are giving rise to claims,’ she said.

Despite popular belief, pursuing a clinical negligence claim is not an easy task.  We need to establish that the Doctor/Dentist/Hospital Trust breached their duty of care to the patient, in that they acted below a reasonable standard of care.  We determine this by obtaining independent expert evidence.

We then have to prove causation.  This test involves asking the simple question – would the patient have incurred the damage “but for” the negligence?  This also has to be proven on the balance of probabilities.

If there is no evidence of breach of duty of care and/or causation then no compensation would be paid.

It is our view that the MDU and other Defendant organizations would be better placed accepting that there is evidence of substandard treatment and progress cases to settlement quicker to minimize the costs incurred, instead of blaming compensation solicitors for the shortfalls in the medical profession.

Finally, we note the article indicates that there has been a 56% increase in disciplinary cases against members of the MDU.  Surely this confirms that there are “deteriorating standards of care”?

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