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Funding Medical Negligence Cases in Scotland

It has been suggested by many that the NHS Scotland is a public service to be envied and that the reputation is exceeding. That said despite its excellent reputation it is not completely fault free. Negligence acts can vary in degree and severity, some can end in minor incidents that patients will completely recover from while other more serious injuries can last a life time and can have life changing effects on the patient involved and also their family.

The cost of such consequences can have massive affects on both the patient and the health service. Obviously negligence does not just take place inside a hospital it can happen almost anywhere were treatment takes place and any patient pursuing a claim for compensation can cause them great financial consequences. However in all circumstances the patient will suffer more greatly as the practitioner who caused the harm will be covered through insurance but the patient may have to live with the consequences for the rest of their lives. The actual amount of compensation can run into millions if the quality of life that the patient is left with has been severely affected and the care that they will need thereafter is constant can run into millions.

Claiming medical negligence in England

Scotland in previous years have experienced fewer cases of medical negligence than England have which is largely due to how such cases are funded and were completely different for each country. England in April 2013 changed the way medical negligence claim cases were funded before this most cases were taken on No Win No Fee arrangements meaning that the victim if the victim was successful they would receive one hundred percent of their compensation, law firms getting their costs from the other side and would pay nothing if the case was lost. This changed in April 2013 after Justice of Secretary Ken Clark announced changes back in 2011. Although it meant that victims of negligence would still not encounter financial risk if they pursued a claim for medical negligence as they would still not have to pay anything atall if they lost but a percentage of their damages would be used for the solicitors success fee rather than them claiming it from the opposite side.

It was argued that defendants would settle even though they thought they was in the right and that the person should not be rewarded with compensation due to the fear of high legal bills brought about by the opposing side. The new agreements for victims of medical negligence to claim compensation come under conditional arrangement fees where solicitors could take upto 25 per cent of the compensation amount. Further detail of the changes can be accessed through the Ministry of Justice.

Claiming medical negligence in Scotland

Defenders in Scotland do not have to pay insurance fees nor do they have to pay success fees. If the defenders lose a case then the amount of compensation plus the cost of the court which is stated by the Auditor of the Court and are usually a lot lower than those of the English court are paid by the defendants. Usually only 50 per cent of legal fees are covered from defendants making many law firms over cautious when taking on any medical negligence cases. There are very few funding options for Scottish citizens pursuing a claim for medical negligence in Scotland making it considerable difficult. With many law firms having to incur very high costs before they even know if a case maybe successful atall, many are sceptical of taking cases on. Legal Aid in an option but the insurance premiums are considered very high.