Figures from the NHS show it paid out a total of £787 million in medical negligence related costs in the financial year 2009/10. Legal costs made up just under £164 million of that total. The previous year, £769 million was paid out for medical negligence claims and £143 million of that was again taken up by legal costs.
However, medical negligence solicitors believe the proposed changes to the personal injury claims system will prove detrimental to patients and their safety. The most seriously injured will be hit hardest by the proposal to remove the burden of legal costs away from the defendant and place it on to the claimant.
If defendants took responsibility and admitted liability early on, the associated costs would be dramatically decreased. How can legal costs of £62,000 be justified when a patient only receives personal injury compensation of £8,000? It’s a madness that needs to be addressed.
Everyone with an interest in patient safety, including personal injury solicitors, should get together and devise a new system that provides proper compensation for patients who have suffered medical negligence and ensures that steps are taken to avoid a similar mistake happening again. But rather than do that, the coalition, NHS and medical defence organisations seek to stop patients lodging claims and hindering investigations when a claim is brought.