What to Do if Your Medical Negligence Claim Goes to Court

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While most medical negligence claims are settled before it goes to court, a fair percentage of them do end up going to court. This does not mean you are necessarily going to lose your case, nor should you panic. Here are a few tips on what to do if your medical negligence claim is litigated. We’ll also explain why these actions are necessary on your part.

Talk to Your Attorney

The first thing to do when you find out that your medical negligence case is going to court is not to panic. The second case is to contact your solicitor. The case may still be settled. In fact, many defendants pass a case to their solicitor to negotiate a settlement after court proceedings have started. If you’ve been trying to handle a medical negligence on your own or are unhappy with your lawyer, you should contact the patient claim line as soon as you ca.

Expect a Defence

Pre-action protocols before trial involve the defendant denying part or all of the medical negligence claim. It may involve a settlement offer, though they may not admit negligence. The case goes to court if you’re demanding settlement and don’t receive an offer, or if their offer is not sufficient. However, when you go to court, they have the right to file a defence of their claim. They can challenge any or all details of the case. Depending on the value of the claim and the complexity of the case, the case may be assigned to a County Court or High Court.

Be Prepared to Hand Over Documents

When the case goes to court, all parties will have to disclose any documents related to the case. If you’ve been claiming lost wages or costs for ongoing care, you’ll be obligated to hand over these financial records. Medical reports may need to be updated, and in some cases, this requires another round of medical tests. Statements must be disclosed to set out evidence that witnesses will give in the court hearing, though you may not actually be called to testify. The court can ask for any other actions necessary so that both sides have a fair hearing.

Be Patient

If a case goes to court, the time from when you call the patient claim line to the time the case is resolved is one and a half to two years. More complex cases involving several liable parties or difficult to prove injuries take more time. Even after going to trial, it will take weeks, possibly months, before a judgment is delivered. However, in most cases, it will take between 12 and 18 months from the time the action was started for the case to go to court.

Understand That There May Still Be a Settlement

When you call a patient claim line, you’re detailing the harm you’ve suffered, and you may be told a ballpark estimate as to the type of settlement you should receive. Going to court raises the spectre of losing the case.

However, the courts want to minimise the time they must devote to any case, so they try to have the two sides come together to work out as much common ground as possible. This reduces how much has to actually be addressed in the trial itself.

And there is a possibility that a settlement is worked out in this phase, though the court may still determine the amount of the settlement if the opponent simply admits a degree of liability. But the judge is always going to try to recommend mediation over a court hearing.

What Can I Expect at the Court Hearing?

First of all, a senior solicitor or barrister will start by presenting your case to the judge. Your solicitor will be present as well during the whole procedure. You and any witness you may have will proceed to be questioned by both your representative and the other party’s. Please note that the judge will have no idea about any settlement discussions you may have had with the other party.

Once all evidence is presented before the judge, he will assess them and give his verdict. If liability for the said incident happens to be disputed, the judge will address which party was responsible. If it’s the compensation amount that is in dispute, the judge will determine how much the other party should pay.

If your medical negligence case is going to court, then you should talk to an attorney. If you’ve been trying to fight the case on your own, you must have a solicitor at this point. Recognize that the other side has a right to request information and even additional tests as part of their legal defence. And understand that going to court doesn’t mean it won’t be settled prior to a trial or that the trial will be limited to merely deciding how much the other side has to pay.

January 23, 2018 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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