Should medical negligence claims be fast tracked?

The Medical Defence Union has criticised the Ministry of Justice’s plans to fast track medical negligence claims.

The fast track model has been judged as a success for resolving some personal injury claims that arise from road traffic accidents. However, the MDU says that cases of clinical negligence are a lot more complex and should not be dealt with in the same way. Whilst the union recognises that it’s important to settle personal injury compensation claims as quickly as possible, safeguards need to be put in place for low value medical negligence claims.

The MDU is particularly averse to the idea of the use of an expert who is jointly-instructed and has said it will not support such a scheme.

One firm of personal injury solicitors agreed that claims of medical negligence are complex and it is often difficult to prove exactly when the negligence occurred in a patient’s treatment regime. If the fast track system was adopted, especially one that utilised a joint expert, victims may be denied the compensation they deserve.

‘Solving disputes in the county courts’, the MoJ consultation, details proposals for introducing the fast track process for claims against independent and primary care practitioners. The government has not yet fixed the maximum amount of personal injury compensation that could be claimed through this process but is considering a limit of between £25,000 and £50,000.

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