The battle lines were drawn in a medico-legal litigation between a hospital and patient, who was claiming £600,000 in damages for injury caused by clinical negligence.
The patient’s £600,000 claim covered lost of earnings, personal car, current services and further treatment.
Fearing the long winding course, and high cost of litigation, the parties submitted the case to mediation before the case could go to trial.
Narrating the case (without disclosing party identity) at the just-ended Medico-Legal Conference in London, Peter Causton, an experienced independent commercial and civil mediator, who mediated the case, said the parties settled on 90,000 pounds at the end of the mediation.
“The lost of earnings claims was effectively dropped, while claims for current services could not be substantiated .
“He settled for about 90,000 pounds, a huge reduction from the £600,000 claim,” he said, adding that “saving over 500,000 pounds just gives an example of what mediation can do.”
Apart from the savings on the claims, the parties were saved the cost of litigation, which they had each budgeted £150,000for trial and hiring of experts at witnesses.
In addition, the patient and hospital team got to know each other better and undertook their concerns and interests.
“The claimant was angry and poured out his emotions,” he said.
Peter Causton, who specialises in costs and professional negligence mediation, noted that a trial would have been a frustrating process for the parties
With a growing global awareness regarding patient’s rights, there is a spurt in litigation to establish liability, claiming redressal for the suffering caused due to medical negligence, vitiated consent, and breach of confidentiality arising out of the doctor-patient relationship.
To help in overcoming the acrimony, high cost and delays associated with court litigation, health facilities are opting for Appropriate Dispute Resolution mechanisms for out of court settlement of such cases.
Claimants are also appreciating mediation since it helps them to overcome the legal demands and some of the difficult obligations in justifying their claims.
In many jurisdictions, in order to prove that medical malpractice occurred, the patient must be able to, among other requirements, show that a doctor-patient relationship existed; the doctor was negligent; the doctor’s negligence caused the injury; the injury led to specific damages; failure to diagnose; improper treatment; and failure to warn a patient of known risks.
By Edmund Mingle/ adrdaily.com