Funding Medical Negligence Litigation
Medical negligence claims tend to be against someone working in the medical or healthcare profession, e.g. a doctor, surgeon or a nurse. These individuals should, in most circumstances, be very skilled in their respective field, but because of a mistake on their part through something they did or did not do, they may fail to perform their role as would otherwise be expected. In other words, they may be negligent.
A medical and healthcare professional has an obligation to perform their role with the level of care and skill that should be expected of someone in their position. This is why it may be necessary to raise a claim of medical negligence when they fail to do so.
There are a variety of situations where medical negligence may take place: a surgeon may fail to remove a piece of surgical equipment from a patient when closing a wound; a nurse may fail to take the appropriate action following a patient’s suffering from pain; or a physician may handle the management of a patient’s condition incorrectly.
What Do I Need to Bring a Medical Negligence Claim?
It is very important to keep in mind that before it will be possible to bring a claim for medical negligence, certain criteria will need to be satisfied:
- Establish that a duty of care was owed to you
The main point of establishing the ‘duty of care’ is to be able to demonstrate to a court that it was ‘reasonably foreseeable’ that the relevant medical or healthcare professional owed you a duty of care to perform their duties to the standard that is expected of them.
- Identify a breach of the duty of care
Attempting to establish that a healthcare professional failed to discharge their duty of care means being able to point to a course of action that shows that you suffered injury as a result of something that they did or failed to do.
Identifying a breach of the duty of care essentially involves satisfying certain conditions:
- The action or omission of the healthcare professional was voluntary - it is only possible to hold medical and healthcare professional responsible for actions or omissions they had a conscious choice about;
- The actions or omissions of the healthcare professional must be shown to have, as their reasonable consequence, caused you some kind of harm - it must be likely that what a healthcare professional does or fails to do, will cause the patient to suffer the harm complained of;
- The healthcare professional must be shown to have been negligent - it must be possible to show that a healthcare professional’s acts or omissions fell below the standard of a reasonable professional practising in that position. Specifically, a patient needs to be able to demonstrate that the conduct of their doctor, nurse etc. fell below that of the reasonable doctor, nurse in that particular situation. The courts will need to be satisfied that negligence has been demonstrated, and so will consider the normal practice of medical/ healthcare professionals in similar circumstances.
How Much Will a Medical Negligence Claim Cost?
Any kind of complaint that has to be brought before the courts will incur some form of cost. This is also the case in medical negligence litigation. It can be quite surprising where the costs of pursuing a claim can come from:
The courts themselves, while a public body, will charge a fee for their time. It is important to keep in mind that the time of the court officials, the judge and all of the administrative tasks associated with medical negligence is valuable. As a result, anyone considering pursuing medical negligence litigation will need to be conscious that there will be a fee chargeable for bringing a case to, and arguing it in, the courts.
The time and expertise of solicitors and barristers is also valuable. Anyone that is exploring the need to raise a court action in medical negligence will understandably hope to engage the best legal team to handle the matter. However this will also cost money. Medical negligence litigation can be very complex, and will demand the attention of legal advisors that are very familiar with the law and processes of the court.
Medical negligence litigation will rely heavily on the opinion of other medical or healthcare professionals. The claim itself will need to be supported by the opinion of other practitioners. It is important to keep in mind that professionals often charge for the provision of their expert opinion, which can add to the cost of litigation.
The fact of the matter is that medical negligence litigation can be costly and would-be litigants should be aware of where the costs are likely to come from. However, when exploring the viability of a potential claim it is important to be aware that there are various ways of funding litigation that means you can get the compensation you deserve without putting your personal finances at risk.
How Can a Medical Negligence Claim be Financed?
It may seem that the likely costs of medical negligence litigation are an insurmountable barrier to raising a claim however, this is simply not the case. At Advantage Litigation Services we offer a variety of financing options that can make the task of financing medical negligence litigation less overwhelming:
This is otherwise known as a ‘conditional fee arrangement’, where a client and their solicitor reaches an agreement that the client will only pay the solicitor’s fees and a success fee if the case is won - although in practice in litigation, the solicitors fees are often paid by the losing party. By definition, if the case is unsuccessful, there is no fee to be paid.
The exact terms of a no-win-no-fee agreement will depend on your circumstances, and will need to take into account the need for court and expert fees.
No-Win Low Fee Agreements
Alternatively, it is possible to enter into a partial fee agreement. This is another kind of arrangement between client and solicitor, where the solicitor’s fees are paid at a reduced rate by the client for the course of the negligence claim. Again, if the case is successful, then the solicitor’s fees are normally recoverable from the losing side.
It is well known that solicitors regularly use a billable hour system. It may be possible for some negotiation on what the billable hour rate is, depending on your circumstances.
Contact our Medical Negligence Litigation Experts UK
At Advantage Litigation, we pride ourselves on placing our clients’ needs at the heart of our work, which is why we think it important to present a variety of options to finance litigation. We offer options that remove the need to incur substantial fees, reduce the potential final fee that may fall due, and allow for negotiation and manoeuvrability. Our team of litigators are highly experienced in handling medical negligence litigation, and understand that being a victim of negligence can have a tremendous impact on people physically, emotionally and financially. We will work with you to find a solution that best reflects your circumstances. Click here to contact us today or call 0800 160 1298.