Fixed recoverable costs in clinical negligence claims. A new regime that may act to the detriment of Claimants? Part 1

Published: 19th December 2023

Our client, D, was taken to hospital after developing a sudden loss of sight in one of his eyes and dizziness. Investigations revealed this was caused by a severe narrowing of the left carotid artery. He was told that he needed surgery urgently.

There were unexplained delays in his treatment. After waiting weeks for surgery, he was finally called in for a pre-operative assessment. On the day of that assessment, whilst in the hospital itself, D suffered a stroke.

He received immediate treatment for the stroke. Initially, D made a good recovery from the stroke. Although he was left with some weakness and neurological pain, the worst-case scenario seemed to have been avoided. However, whilst we were pursuing his claim, it became apparent his condition was not as good as first thought. D started to exhibit problems with his memory and after further investigation was diagnosed with vascular dementia secondary to the stroke. We obtained reports from a neurologist, and a neuropsychologist to support his claim. Liability was admitted in this case. If the case had settled before the dementia was diagnosed he would have recovered around £100,000 or maybe less.  It took time for the full extent of our client’s injury to reveal itself. Damages eventually were agreed for £330,000.

If the new fixed costs rules come in, under settlement due to pressure on clients to settle early will inevitably occur. See our summary of the effect of the new fixed cost rules in our next article.