Medical Negligence Costs: High Value Claim Case Study

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ARC Costs recently assisted on a high value medical negligence costs claim in which an enhancement of almost 30% on guideline hourly rates was achieved by our team. Moreover, through negotiations with the other side, our team managed to achieve a legal costs settlement which was 88% of the costs claimed.

 

Medical Negligence Costs

As with all legal cases, legal costs will be incurred for both claimants and defendants in clinical negligence claims. The types of costs that are likely to be incurred throughout a medical negligence claim include solicitors fees, Court fees, Barrister fees and expert witness fees.  Medical negligence claims also remain one of the few areas of law where an ATE insurance premium can still be recovered inter-partes.

Medical negligence costs can be significant, especially in cases of serious injury, such as brain or neurological injuries.

Legal aid funding is now rarely available for clinical negligence compensation claims, save for if it is in relation to a birthing claim. In most circumstances, solicitors will take on medical negligence cases on a no win, no fee agreement. This is also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) and is often used in conjunction with legal expenses insurance to cover the Defendant’s legal fees if the case is successful.

If a solicitor is successful in pursuing a claim against an NHS Trust or private medical facility, the law firm will be entitled to recover their medical negligence costs from the other side.

On conclusion of a successful case, the winning party should draft a Bill of Costs and submit it to the losing party, alongside a Notice of Commencement. This will initiate the process of detailed assessment.

Parties should then attempt to negotiate costs using Points of Dispute and replies. If the losing party does not supply their points of dispute within 21 days, the winning party can apply for a Default Costs Certificate, which will entitle them to receive all of the costs listed within the Bill of Costs.

If an agreement cannot be reached using the process of Detailed Assessment, a Detailed Assessment Hearing will need to be arranged by the winning party.

 

Medical Negligence Costs Case Study: Facts of the Case

We were instructed to assist on a case that involved a delayed diagnosis of Cauda Equina. As a result, the Claimant suffered with more severe symptoms of their condition than they would have done if they had obtained a prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment for their symptoms in a more timely manner.

The ongoing symptoms which were exacerbated or caused by the delay in diagnosis included bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction, as well as pain in the lower limbs.  This in turn caused psychological implications to the Claimant.

The Claimant’s claim included a claim for pain, suffering and loss of amenity due to injury, past and future care and assistance claims, as well as loss of earnings claims.

A number of expert opinions were required throughout the case, including the opinions of a neurosurgeon, psychiatrists, urologists and colorectal surgeons. Care Reports from an Occupational Therapist were also obtained as part of the proceedings.

The Defendant denied liability for the claim and Counsel was required to advise on quantum and the valuation of the claim. Proceedings were later issued and served on the Defendant.

At the CCMC a Costs Budget was approved in the sum of £300,288.65.

A number of Part 36 offers were made by the Claimant and the Defendant representatives, including an offer from the Defendant in the sum of £275,000 in an attempt to settle the case. All offers were rejected at this stage and steps were made to take the case to Trial.

Joint expert reports were later obtained from Neurosurgeon Experts and Colorectal Experts.  Within the joint neurosurgeon report, the two experts had differing opinions on causation.

The parties engaged in further settlement discussions and the claim was settled at £350,000 with costs to be assessed if not agreed.

 

Costs of the Case

The costs of this particular case were high due to the complexities of the injuries sustained and the number of experts required to provide their opinion on the case. As mentioned above, a Costs Budget of £300,288.65 was approved at the CCMC.

ARC Costs were later instructed to prepare a detailed Bill of Costs and to assist with negotiation of costs.

Through negotiation of the Bill of Costs, we managed to settle the claim for costs at £280,000, recouping 88% of the costs claimed.

Within our costs valuation, guideline hourly rates were uplifted to calculate a reasonable recovery, as this was clearly a case where enhanced rates should apply. Through our negotiations, we relied upon the rates listed within the Claimant solicitors Conditional Fee Agreements, and were therefore able to recover circa. £125,000 in profit costs.

 

How can ARC Costs Assist?

ARC Costs have a team of experienced Costs Lawyers and Costs Draftsmen with the skills and expertise required to assist with medical negligence costs claims, including the drafting and negotiation of high value Bills of Costs.

ARC Costs can assist in all matters relating to legal costs, whether you are a receiving or paying party. As well as assisting solicitors and law firms with their legal costing matters, we also help litigants in person.

If you are looking for more information surrounding our legal costs services, please get in touch with us at 01204 397302 or via email at info@arccosts.co.uk. Alternatively, you can contact us via our live chat facility below to speak with a costs expert directly.

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