Clinical negligence cases can follow countless pathways before they settle. Unlike low value road traffic accidents or accident at work claims, the prospect of successfully implementing a standardised approach to clinical negligence claims is therefore far lower.
As a result of the numerous possibilities in clinical negligence cases, it has been far more difficult for the government to establish a fixed costs regime which would be appropriate for them. Initially the intention was for such a regime to be in place by October 2018, however, between the general election, the numerous consultations and pressure from inside and outside the field, this looks increasingly unlikely.
The introduction of a fixed costs regime to clinical negligence remains high on the government’s agenda though, and taking steps which appear to reduce litigation costs for the NHS will remain a priority with it being so politically appealing. This may well involve a more complex fixed costs calculation than the personal injury industry has become accustomed to, and possibly fundamental changes to litigation itself for example with the introduction of a new ‘intermediate track’.
Whether in 2018, 2019 or beyond, MRN intends to support our clinical negligence clients through any changes, enabling them to remain successful in an increasingly challenging, but persistently important area of practice.