There has been considerable criticism over the last number of years, with respect to manner in which medical negligence* cases are run, the length of time it takes to conclude the action, the manner in which damages are paid and the level of costs associated with bringing such an action.
In order to resolve these and many other perceived issues, the High Court Working Group on Medical Negligence and Periodic Payments was set up to consider more efficient and effective ways to resolving medical negligence claims.* What they proposed, is the introduction of pre-action protocols and a case management system, similar to the UK. It appears the Government are now going to implement these proposals, with the possibility of there being draft legislation this year.
These proposals advocate a much more open exchange of information, where both sides exchange documentation and enter into negotiations at the pre litigation stage, to facilitate an early settlement. Case management procedures would be put in place to monitor the manner and time in which information is exchanged and negotiations are entered into.
But will these changes have the desired effect, of minimising the costs and facilitating a platform for the early settlement of medical negligence* claims? The Personal Injury Assessment Board (PIAB) was set up in 2003 with a similar mandate of reducing the litigation costs associated with bring personal injury* actions and to facilitate a quicker resolution of such actions. When insurance companies lobbied for the setting up of the injuries board, they claimed that the savings in legal costs would see a reduction in premiums. This never came to pass and any savings made by the injuries board, if any, have not been pasted on to the public. It also cannot be said that they have quickened the process of bringing a personal injury* action or made it more efficient. In fact, in a lot of circumstances they slow the process up, by insisting that the personal injury* actions have to go through the PIAB process.
It should also be noted that it has not been a resounding success in the UK and the cost savings have not been as a great as first envisaged. It has also seen, as has happened here with the injuries board, that some of the costs are now being passed on to the injured party, so it is the insurance companies and not they public seeing the real benefit.
For further information on medical negligence* or personal injury* law, please do not hesitate to contact Hanahoe and Hanahoe solicitors on 045 897784 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is merely for information purposes and is not and should not be taken as legal advice. If you have any queries in relation to this or any other aspect of medical negligence* or personal injury* Law, you should consult with a solicitor who specialises in medical negligence* and personal * law. No solicitor/client relationship or duty of care or liability of any nature exists between Hanahoe and Hanahoe solicitors, until you receive written confirmation that we are acting as solicitors on your behalf.
*In contentious business a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.