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Medical Negligence Law
In April 1999 the Civil Procedure Rules came into force bringing with them the Pre-action Protocol for Clinical Disputes.
The Protocol’s aim was to reduce the burden on the courts by providing for the pre-litigation period of a claim. In other words, the Protocol sets out steps that should be taken during the investigation period of a claim and prior to issuing a claim at Court.
It should be noted that the Protocols are not mandatory. However, there may be adverse cost consequences to the non-complying party.
The initial stage of the Protocol is for the Claimant to notify the Defendant/s of a potential claim. This is usually done when requesting the medical records. Brief details of the claim should be provided and the Defendant should be notified of the funding method.
The Claimant need not do anything now until they have fully investigated their case and obtained some medical evidence.
The next stage is to prepare the Letter of Claim. This letter sets out the background to your claim, the allegations of medical negligence and the injuries that you have suffered.
The Defendant then has a period of four months to investigate the case against them and provide a Letter of Response. This letter sets out their version of events if different from yours and confirms whether liability is admitted in full, partially admitted or denied.
At this stage, where the Defendant has denied liability or failed to serve a Letter of Response, the Claimant is free to issue Court Proceedings.