Filing a Clinical Negligence claim

Health professionals work in tough atmospheres, and they work to the best of their abilities to provide proper care. But sometimes the care you receive may be below expected standards, and such negligence can make an already unhealthy condition worse.

If you are thinking about filing a Clinical Negligence claim and are confused about the process, uncertain of where to start, or unsure of whether to go through with the claim at all, you’ll find this article useful. We will address the 5 main questions to consider prior to beginning a Clinical Negligence case.
If necessary, are you ready to go to Court?

Many Clinical Negligence claims get settled out of court. Studies show that less than 5% of cases end up going to a full Court trial.

Whether you believe your case will go to Court or be settled before the trial begins, it’s worthwhile to prepare yourself for the trial mentally. Govern your behavior and believe everything that you say about your case. How the judge perceives you is of paramount importance.

Question whether you are ready for a Court appearance. Would you be able to provide witness evidence after swearing an oath? Can you endure standing in front of a judge and answer all his questions easily? If the answers to those questions are “no”, then you shouldn’t begin the claim yet. You should, however, inform your solicitor about this and adhere to their recommendations.
Are you prepared to address sensitive medical treatment questions?

Similar to the above, this query refers to your personal levels of comfort and what you are and aren’t able to do.

To determine what the Defendant will ask you, your solicitor will play devil’s advocate. As such, expect to be asked tough questions, ones that may make you feel like the solicitor has turned against you. This is not the case – the solicitor does this to prepare you for the Defendant’s arguments so you can react and respond accordingly. This way, no question will catch you off-guard.

For instance, if your solicitor believes the Defendant will state that you should have addressed your treatment concerns to your doctor earlier, you can expect to be asked:

  • “why did you wait half a year to address your issues?”
  • “Why did you keep letting Dr. X treat you if you were mistrustful of him?”
  • “Why didn’t you obtain a second opinion?”
  • “Why didn’t you act prior to X, Y, or Z occurring?”

Be making you prepared for such harsh questions, they can easily dismantle the Defendant’s argument.

Have you totally recovered?
It is prudent to be completely recovered prior to starting a claim since it will make your injury simpler to assess (i.e. put a financial figure on your delayed recovery/injury, etc.). Be mindful that that bringing a claim can be quite stressful, and if you think such stress will be detrimental to your health, it is recommended that you wait until your health improves to the point where you can get back on the case.

You have a few years to bring a claim; the deadline starts from the time you acknowledge negligence. This is known as Date of Knowledge, and it allows you to get healthier prior to beginning a claim.

Even though it’s not recommended to wait until the eleventh hour of the three-year deadline, it is smart to ensure you have completely recovered, or recover as much as you can, prior to bringing a claim. If you intend to use a solicitor to bring your claim for Clinical Negligence, then it would be wise to speak with them at least half a year prior to the end of the deadline.

Are you bringing a claim on time?
To reintegrate what was mentioned earlier, ensure you bring a claim before the deadline ends. You have a three-year window that starts when you realize you had endured negligence. The time will be barred if you attempt to bring a claim after the deadline expires. In rare situations, a Court might permit the case past the three-year window.

What are my choices for funding?
Many claims for Clinical Negligence can be taken on by a solicitor with an agreement called “No Win No Fee”. This arrangement allows the solicitor to receive up to 25% of your compensation to cover legal fees. This percentage can be negotiated if your solicitor is open to adjusting it.

With a “No Win No Fee Agreement”, you don’t pay any legal fees if you lose in court. However, you may still be responsible for disbursements that were paid by your solicitor on your behalf. Disbursements consist of fees to pay for the medical expert’s contribution, your medical records, Court costs, and the like. Your solicitor may also acquire insurance to keep you protected from having to pay such disbursements, should your case be unsuccessful.

There are additional funding options available; your claim could be funded with pre-existing legal coverage on your car insurance or house & contents insurance. It is worth reviewing your insurance policies to determine if you have this type of coverage. There are advantages to paying for claims using pre-existing insurance policies since several insurance providers will let you keep every cent of your compensation. However, you might not have the benefit of selecting your own solicitor and be subjected to the one selected by the insurance company. It isn’t very likely that you’ll meet them in person and instead communicate with them online or by phone.

In Closing
Bringing a Clinical Negligence claim is a lengthy, tedious process and may test your patience. However, if you consider the process, advise a solicitor, and listen to their recommendations, the process will be much easier.

Legislation To Protect Separating UK Unmarried Couples Overdue

According to the Office Of National Statistics, unmarried couples and families living together are the fastest growing cohabitants in the United Kingdom. As of 2016, there are approximately 3.3 million cohabiting families and the number has doubled since the statistics taken 1996 at 1.5 million.

Legislation for the protection of  unmarried couples and families is well overdue.  Lawyers have been arguing this issue for well over 10 years.  This includes the rights and responsibilities of unmarried couples upon separation and should be addressed as soon as possible.

A recent survey by the Family Lawyers Organisation of its members revealed that 88% of cohabiting couples believe they have legal protection.  It has also shown that 98% mistakenly believed they have the same rights as married couples.

Due to the statistics from surveys, it is believed that legislation for unmarried couples has not provided proper legal protection.  Back in 2007, the Law Commission recommended a plan that would be a contribution-based financial award for separating couples who had a child together and lived together for a certain period of time.  Couples in the plan also had the option to back out if they chose to.

In 2011, the government announced they would not move forward with these proposals.  Even though the commission called on the next government to move forward and not delay, there was a lack of interest or political will.  In light of more pressing issues of national interest, there have been no changes.

Nigel Shepherd, chair of Resolution and head of family law at Mills & Reeve, told Solicitors Journal that his organisation envisions a law where unmarried couples could meet the criteria, through a committed relationship, allowing them the right to apply for certain financial orders upon separation.

This right would kick in automatically unless the couple chose to back out.  The court would be able to make the same orders as they do for divorced couples but on a limited basis.  These benefits could include payments for child care which would allow the caregiver the ability to work.

According to Julia Thackray, former head of the family team at Penningtons and programme leader at Central Law Training, believes reforms are well overdue.  She went on to point out, with the increasing number of couples living together, it is even more critical that the government gets back to the issue of cohabitation and financial protection for these people.  This issue should not be a carbon copy of divorce but should offer some level of protection and as a safety net where  otherwise real needs will not be met.

Unfortunately, there are many cases where people are extremely vulnerable, they have children, cannot work or only work part-time, and this contributes to more family financial concerns.  They have to compromise their earning abilities and limited housing options and there is absolutely nothing they can do about it.  In other situations where couples do not have children but have other expenses, they are not allowed to make a property claim.  Due to other expenses, it may allow the property owner to pay off more on their mortgage so they can have an advantage later on.

In June of 2015, Lord Marks introduced the Cohabitation Rights Bill to address this huge vacuum in the law.  This bill would provide basic protections for unmarried couples and a provision for their property upon one partner’s death.  Under the bill, the court would be able to make a financial settlement order where there is a “retained benefit” or “economic disadvantage” dependent. This would allow for “qualifying contributions” be made for either financial or other reasons.

Before an order can be presented, the court must deem whether it is fair when addressing any “discretionary factors” which would include the earning capabilities of both parties and the welfare of a child.  Couples would also have protection upon a death instead of just separation and this is a very important point.

Lord Marks’ bill also has safeguards in place that would provide protection for insurable interests in lives, being intestate upon death, and rights related to their home.  It also provides for the possibility for a claim against a partner’s estate upon death.

Lord Marks will take part in an upcoming debate to support extending the legal rights of those who choose not to marry.  Those advocating reform will want to stay up on the progress being made by the bill in the House of Lords.  Without a specific date for the second reading of his bill, no one is any closer in guaranteeing cohabitation laws will meet the demands of the 21st century than the Law Commission was 10 years ago.

Unmarried couples should have the same protections and rights as those who are married.  With the growing number of people are choosing to live together vs marrying, the government must address these concerns in a timely manner.

Increasing Solicitors Legal Fees

The information contained in this article about increasing solicitors legal fees is easy for you to implement and, if you implement it properly, it shouldn’t damage your conversion rate. The end result is that you’ll be charging higher rates while still maintaining the same level of people instructing you. Think about how much more money you could be making in that situation.

Why You Should Charge More for your solicitors legal fees

The first step is to answer the question of if you believe you’re providing people with a good service. If you can’t say yes to that question then it’s time for you to make some changes; either change the way you handle business or change your profession. Many people will likely be as confident as I am that they provide a great service. I am confident that I can help any solicitor that asks me for help increasing their profits. I am also sure that you would feel confident you could do the best possible job for any client that asks you for help. The fact that you do a good job is why people come to you in the first place.

So if you accept that you do provide an excellent service; isn’t it only fair that you get reimbursed properly? The answer should, once again, be “yes”.

How Can You Charge More?

1.  Start by Selling Your Services to Existing Clients

When you sell your services to clients that are loyal to you you’re able to charge them more. These clients will come to you because they feel that you are their solicitor. This means that they won’t be trying to give you the run around. They shouldn’t be scared off as long as the price increase isn’t too high. Later on we’ll tell you how to get even more value out of your services.

Building Client Loyalty

To build up client loyalty it is vital that you communicate with them clearly and regularly. You should contact them at least once a month but you should aim for more. If you’re not in regular contact with your clients then it’s time you started. There are plenty of software tools out there that can help you do this so there’s no excuse anymore to not be in regular contact with your clients.

While you’re working for your client you should always give them the best service possible. If you’re going to give your clients a great service then they’ll never even consider going to someone else for legal help if you raise your prices. They’ll even recommend you to their friends and families to increase your business. If you ever think about the times you had to choose a professional service yourself you’ll realise how many times you’ve stuck with a company or a person because of the convenience of staying with them. Even if you feel someone is cheaper or could do a better job you stick with what you know. Your clients will think the same thing. If you do the bare minimum for someone they’ll probably stay with you, but if you give them an exceptional service they’ll be yours for years.

2.  Selling Yourself to Prospective New Clients

If you’re great at handling prospective new clients you’ll have no problem increasing the cost of your services. You might need to take a little time reviewing and improving your current process but it’s not like it will cost you anything to improve your practices. Here’s how to better sell yourself to prospective clients.

Listen to Their Needs

Everyone has two ears and a mouth but when solicitors call people on the phone to attempt to sell their services they are focused only on the mouth. They are all about talking and never about listening. You need to stop thinking of your price and start thinking of the client’s needs.

Just making the effort to really listen to your clients and their needs will put you ahead of the competition. Almost every solicitor starts talking about the price almost instantly without even finding out why someone needs to move home, make a will, or how much pain the client is in if they are considering a personal injury claim.

If you take a few minutes to find out why a client needs to do something then you’re pretty much two thirds of the way to closing the deal. If you don’t listen to their needs then you’ll never be able to match your services with their needs, which brings us to step two;

Match your Services to The Client’s Needs

Knowing why the client needs to do something makes it much easier for you to explain to them how your services are perfect for them. I remember a time I sat in on an interview with a sales manager interviewing a potential employee. It was the worst interview I’d ever seen because the interviewer was telling the interviewee exactly what he wanted. All the interviewee had to do was repeat back what he was told, and he got the job. It didn’t matter if it was true or a lie. What mattered is that he told the sales manager exactly what he needed to hear and convinced him that he was right for the job.

What you need to do is take your client’s needs and explain how your services are a perfect match. If you can convince the client they are you’re much closer to making the deal.

Follow Up

It’s important that you take the time to follow up the call. You can do it by sending an email but sending an email and a letter is the better option. It’s important that you follow up with your call because, if your client has called more than one firm, they might forget which one you were representing

Finally

If you don’t hear back from the client and get their business you should give them a call. During the call find out if you answered all of their questions or if they had any more information they needed to make a choice.

How Much You Should Charge

The answer to how much more you should charge depends on how much your services are worth to your clients. These days solicitors have been reducing their conveyance costs so much it’s surprising that they are still in business. Remember that your services are worth as much as the client is willing to pay for them. Many solicitors will charge just £250 for their conveyance services while others will charge as much as £1250. Remember that this a £1000 difference for the same service. Of course you need to be providing a stellar service to be charging £1250 but if you charge that much you have the financial freedom to spend more time with the client, more time with the file, and more time ensuring that everything goes through properly.

A good way to get started is to increase your fee by £25 and see if it affects your conversion rate. If so then you can increase the price a little bit more. Keep on going until you find that you’re charging the maximum price that clients are willing to pay for your services.

When to Start Charging More

Right now of course! Give the next person who calls you your new rate. There’s no reason to wait.

Summary

To summarise; you simply aren’t charging how much you should be for your professional services. If you go through with the process properly you can begin charging more in a way that allows you to make your services even better.