Those experts would be lawyers, right?

Victims of NHS blunders face spending all their compensation on lawyers fees, following a proposed Government shake-down of legal costs, experts have warned.

The fears of patient safety groups were realised on Monday as a report by the Right Honourable Justice Jackson recommended capping the costs recoverable by people successfully suing negligent NHS trusts.

The long-awaited document recommends imposing the cap on medical negligence cases where the value of the claim is worth less than £25,000.

16 thoughts on “Those experts would be lawyers, right?”

  1. Hang on a moment. Surely NHS looses = they should have settled and NHS should pay costs. NHS wins = they seek a costs order against plaintiff? Capping costs stops the plaintiff who has a valid but complex case.

    Another example of “our” NHS being protected from market or market style discipline.

  2. Costs capping already exists in other cases. There’s also a practice called ‘qualified one-way costs shifting’ (another Jacksonism) which allows some personal injury claimants to litigate without fear of an adverse costs order if they lose.

    And, yes, I daresay lawyers are behind this objection.

    On the other hand, Tim, would you not as a general rule oppose price and income controls?

  3. The French prefectures cap the amount somebody can sue them for. The amount is less than it costs in lawyers fees to bring even a simple case. Result: nobody sues. Neat, eh?

  4. @JuliaM: I think it’s the Telegraph employing ignoramuses to write this stuff and nobody at all to sub it.

  5. “The trust paid out £1.1bn for 120 cases where patients, most of them elderly, had suffered death, or profound suffering.

    Average damages were less than £9,000 each.”

    120 times 9k is a bit over a million. Where did the rest go?

  6. “Where did the rest go?”

    Where do you think? Lawyers Surrey mansions and Bentleys don’t buy themselves you know!

  7. Suing the NHS is not going to raise standards but holding senior admin staff in the hospitals for failing to maintain best practise, attaching their assets, salary and pensions would revolutionise patient care. This is what government should enable to bring down costs and negligence claims.

  8. ‘where the value of the claim is worth less than £25,000′

    Strange clause.

    Damages should be capped. At actual cost plus a third to cover their lawyer.

    One of the big drivers of cost in the U.S. is “punitive damages,” which can be multiples of actual damage. It drives up cost significantly, and should be eliminated.

    Lawyers convince juries that the defendants didn’t just make a mistake, they are bad people. So the juries award punitive damages. Doctors’ insurance is priced accordingly higher, which is of course paid for by other patients.

    The problem is, the lawyers in legislatures are not going to take the graft away from their personal injury lawyer buddies.

  9. Interesting report on the Today programme about a revolutionary new technique for enhancing outcomes from surgery for pancreatic surgery. Apparently pulling out all the stops to get the patient into surgery in 16 days rather than the 60 it usually takes the NHS gives the patient a better chance.

  10. Apparently pulling out all the stops to get the patient into surgery in 16 days rather than the 60 it usually takes the NHS gives the patient a better chance.

    Who would have thought it?

  11. BiW,

    it’s a double-edged sword, getting patients into surgery in 16 days decreases the number of people in hospital dying ‘from’ pancreatic cancer but probably increases the number of people in hospital dying ‘with’ pancreatic cancer.

  12. “The French prefectures cap the amount somebody can sue them for. The amount is less than it costs in lawyers fees to bring even a simple case. Result: nobody sues. Neat, eh?”

    This is all just hypothetical, because being hard working public servants they always give 100% in favour of the public.

  13. I’m surprised they can cap this though. Doesn’t France have a national legal system which can say “er no, fuck off, you can’t do that”.

  14. France has a legal system that will do whatever the politicians in charge tell it to – “democratic fascism” is how the locals describe it. One of the many reasons why multinationals are reluctant to set up their European offices in Paris.

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