The Changing Landscape of Clinical Negligence Litigation in England: Fixed Recoverable Costs and No-Fault Compensation
If you or a loved one have suffered from clinical negligence in England, you may be facing a rapidly evolving legal landscape. In recent years, there has been a significant shift in how clinical negligence cases are handled, primarily due to the introduction of fixed recoverable costs. Additionally, the possibility of a no-fault compensation scheme looms on the horizon. In this blog post, we’ll explore these changes and their potential impact on prospective clients for English solicitors specialising in medical negligence.
Fixed Recoverable Costs: An Overview
Fixed recoverable costs, often referred to as “FRC,” were introduced in England & Wales on 1st October 2023 to streamline the legal process and make it more cost-effective. This system sets a predetermined limit on the legal costs that can be recovered by the winning party in a clinical negligence case. While FRC aims to make litigation more predictable and efficient, it has raised concerns among claimants.
Impact on Clients
Prospective clients should be aware that fixed recoverable costs could mean they are asked to contribute more towards their legal services. In the past, solicitors handling clinical negligence cases could recover their fees from the losing party, allowing clients to pursue their claims without the financial burden of legal costs. With FRC in place, clients may need to cover a larger portion of these costs themselves, which can be a daunting prospect for many. Not every firm will be charging the same amount and so it pays to ask the right question so you find the correct solicitor for you.
Less Compensation Under a No-Fault Scheme
While no-fault compensation schemes are not yet implemented in England, they are being considered as a potential solution to reduce the burden on the National Health Service (NHS). In such a system, patients injured due to clinical negligence would receive compensation regardless of whether a healthcare provider was at fault. While this may seem like a more straightforward process for claimants, it’s important to note that compensation amounts are typically lower than what could be awarded through traditional litigation.
This is why Hodge Jones & Allen were proud to support the combined appeal by Action against Medial Accidents’ and the Society of Clinical Injury Lawyers’ to raise funds for expert evidence on the impact of a no fault compensation scheme on claimants at the launch of Geoffrey Simpson-Scott’s ‘A Practical Approach to Clinical Negligence’ (3rd Edition) on 21st September 2023.
Policy-makers should carefully consider the trade-off between fixed recoverable costs and a potential no-fault compensation scheme. With FRC, claimants may bear a greater financial responsibility for their legal services but could potentially secure higher compensation if their case is successful. On the other hand, a no-fault scheme could provide more straightforward access to compensation but likely at a reduced amount leaving victims of medical negligence unable to properly fund the care, treatment and rehabilitation they require.
Navigating the Changing Landscape
The evolving landscape of clinical negligence litigation in England calls for a nuanced approach when seeking legal representation. It’s crucial for prospective clients to work with solicitors who specialise in medical negligence and are well-versed in the intricacies of FRC and potential no-fault schemes. An experienced solicitor can help clients weigh the pros and cons, ensuring they make informed decisions about pursuing their claims.
The introduction of fixed recoverable costs and the possibility of a no-fault compensation scheme in England have brought significant changes to clinical negligence litigation. Prospective clients must carefully consider the financial implications of FRC and the potential trade-off between higher compensation through litigation and the ease of access provided by a no-fault scheme.
If you or a loved one have experienced clinical negligence, seeking expert legal guidance is essential. Contacting a specialised medical negligence solicitor will ensure that you navigate these changes effectively and make informed decisions about your case. Your path to justice may be evolving, but with the right support, you can still seek the compensation you deserve.
To speak to one of our medical negligence solicitors please call 0808 271 9413 or request a call back online.