The Medical Protection Society has proposed a trial “pre-action protocol” with which it aims to reduce the cost of medical negligence compensation claims in Ireland.
The Medical Protection Society (MPS) is an organisation that provides legal help to medical professionals from consultants to dental assistants. Its “pre-trial protocol” is a voluntary process which aims to increase transparency and openness between lawyers representing parties in a claim for medical negligence compensation, so that claims can be resolved quicker and the costs of medical negligence compensation claims in Ireland can be reduced.
Due to the expense involved in litigating medical negligence compensation claims in Ireland some plaintiffs never recover the compensation they are entitled to. The MPS hopes that – with the opportunity for medical negligence claims to be investigated and resolved before litigation is necessary – the protocol should reduce the cost of medical negligence compensation claims due to using mediation to settle claims quicker in a less adversarial environment.
Emma Hallinan – Director of Claims at MPS – said “We recognise the important role that the MPS must play, and have committed to trialling procedural reform before it is introduced in statute. We are in the process of writing to plaintiff lawyers with large medical negligence practices to request that they work with us to pilot this.” A similar protocol currently exists in England and Wales which penalises solicitors who do not attempt a resolution by mediation before taking a claim to litigation.
During the proposed trial of the “pre-action protocol”, a tariff of general damages would provide a scale of compensation values for specific physical injuries caused by medical negligence. This is not dissimilar to the Injuries Board´s “Book of Quantum” or the UK´s Judicial College “Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases.”
General damages for psychological trauma and loss of amenity would still have to be resolved by negotiation as would special damages for the financial implications of medical negligence – but many people looking at the MPS´s “pre-action protocol” proposals agree that it is a positive step towards reducing the cost of medical negligence compensation claims in Ireland.