New Cap Imposed on Clinical Negligence Claims

Published: 2nd June 2017

Recently the government has proposed to put a cap on the costs recoverable from a clinical negligence claim that is valued at under £25,000.

When people suffer due to clinical negligence they are able to seek compensation for this. If they are successful in their case then the defendant, typically the NHS, has to make two payments. The first is the damages awarded to the claimant. The second is to cover the solicitor’s fees of the solicitor that is representing the claimant.

What the government is proposing is to cap the amount that solicitors can charge depending on the size of the damages awarded. The reason these caps are needed is due to a large number of disproportionally high fee claims, compared to the damages awarded.

The perfect example of this is one case in which the damages awarded were £1000. However, the solicitors claimed £83,000 in costs.

It has been calculated that the payment of these costs alone costs the NHS £1.5 billion in the financial year of 2015-16.

With the new plans there will be a cap imposed to limit the amount that solicitors can claim for cases in which less than £25,000 damages was awarded.

While this sounds like a positive thing for the NHS, with a huge amount of costs saved, it could possibly have a negative effect on those who have been a victim of clinical negligence. Clinical negligence cases are incredibly complex, and often take a long time to build. This means that solicitors fees will naturally build.

However, this cap could make solicitors hesitant to take on what could be seen as low value cases (high value does not necessarily translate to a longer case, and the opposite is also true). Or, if they do take the case on they will have to recover their costs from elsewhere, namely from the damages awarded to the claimant.

This proposal could have serious ramifications across the entire clinical negligence arena. To find out more, and how it could affect your clinical negligence case, or if you have been the victim of clinical negligence, give Liddy’s a call on 01226 731 314.