The Law Society Gazette claimed this year that there had been an unmatched rise in claims being made against doctors for medical negligence. There has been an 18% increase in requests made to the Medical Defence Union, for assistance with these claims.
The Medical Defence Union claims that while a lot of factors are involved, it is likely that 'no win, no fee' solicitors definitely play a big role in influencing the rise of these claims. This is unfortunate, considering that the real sources of clinical negligence are being largely ignored.
This article has been written to help you understand the process behind making a claim with 'no win, no fee' solicitors.
No win, no fee
What does it mean, exactly? There is no Legal Aid available for medical negligence claims. In 1995, No Win, No Fee agreements were introduced to help people making claims.
If your claim is not successful, you are basically not responsible for the costs of the solicitors. There might be a conditional fee involved, but this will differ from practice to practice.
If your claim is successful, you will be entitled to 100% of your compensation, and in some cases, the losing party will have to pay your legal fees.
Will I have to go to court?
This depends. Most of the time, these kind of legal proceedings will not require you to go to court. However, it's still not guaranteed, there's always a slim chance you'll have to go to court.
In this event, you will need to make further arrangements with your solicitors. This will usually involve taking some kind of insurance policy to protect you if you lose out on the claim.
In most cases, the losing party or the Insurance Company will cover the insurance premium costs.
How easy is it to win a claim?
It's actually not very easy to win a medical negligence claim, which is why you should hire solicitors with a good reputation for winning 'no win, no fee' medical negligence cases.
Firstly, your legal representatives need to prove that your doctor or hospital has failed in their duty of care; evidence needs to be presented and judged by independent experts. It then has to be determined if the damage was caused directly by negligence.
Why should you bother?
Because it's now much easier, with no win, no fee lawyers, to get something done about the wrongful treatment and damage that you have suffered. Over the past year, there has been a staggering 56% increase in disciplinary actions against members of the Medical Defence Union.
With no win, no fee lawyers, you don't have anything to lose by trying!
Image by Alex Proimos from Buenos Aires, Argentina (The Stethoscope) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons