July 25, 2011

Criticism Over ‘Fast Track’ Approach to Complex Negligence Claims

MANCHESTER, England, July 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

The Medical Defence Union (MDU), the UK's leading medical defence body,
has published its response to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) consultation
'Solving disputes in the county courts'.

The report commented on 'the viability and fairness' of introducing a
'fast track' claims process for clinical negligence claims
[http://www.jmw.co.uk/services-for-you/clinical-negligence ], especially
against primary care and independent practitioners. A 'fast track' model is
currently used to process some motor accident claims
[http://www.jmw.co.uk/services-for-you/personal-injury/motoring-accident-injury ]

Despite the fact the motor accident scheme is judged as a success, the
MDU feel that clinical negligence cases are significantly more complex and
as such could not be managed in the same way. In particular the MDU feels
that they could not support any scheme that would require MDU members to be
bound by the opinion of a jointly-instructed expert. As such, whilst they
recognise the need to settle valid claims as soon as possible, the union
believes that any scheme for low value claims would need to incorporate

Eddie Jones, Partner and Head of the Clinical Negligence Department at
JMW Solicitors, commented,

'At JMW Solicitors we are interested to hear of the MDU stance on 'fast
track' process proposed for low value clinical negligence claims. Whilst we
agree that claims should be settled as quickly as possible to limit both
costs and the stress to the claimant, we agree that clinical negligence
claims are complex and require care and attention from both parties to
ensure that a fair outcome for patients and their families is reached.

At JMW we strive to ensure that our clients receive compensation for
injuries caused by clinical negligence. However, this is not always easy to
do. For example in the case of a negligently performed tonsillectomy we had
particular difficulty in proving that the client's symptoms were caused by
negligent surgery. The defendant disputed that the surgery had been
performed negligently and maintained that any residual symptoms (which
included nasal regurgitation, a persistent runny nose and halitosis) were
simply recognised complications of a routine tonsillectomy. The independent
expert instructed by JMW found it necessary to meet with the client in order
to observe her symptoms and undertake a thorough report.

Under a fast track approach, particularly one which utilises a joint
expert, our client may not have been able to receive the compensation she so
rightly deserved for having to endure her embarrassing symptoms caused by
negligently performed surgery.'


JMW Solicitors LLP is one of Manchester's leading law firms and offers a
broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients,
including clinical negligence compensation claims. For more information
visit: http://www.jmw.co.uk

SOURCE JMW Solicitors