New regulations limit legal aid for medical negligence to birth injuries

Changes which took effect in April 2013 mean that victims of medical negligence hoping to make compensation claims no longer receive legal aid to help with legal costs – with the exception of a limited category of claims relating to birth injuries. Even those with very strong claims or high value cases are not eligible for public funding anymore. With the exception of those birth injury cases, legal aid is simply being abolished when it comes to making a medical negligence claim.

Legal aid remains for claims for child brain injuries- including cerebral palsy

Only children whose brain injuries were caused during the pregnancy itself, or who were injured during their birth, or who have developed serious brain injuries which led to serious disabilities within 8 weeks of their birth qualify for legal aid to make a medical negligence claim for damages after April 1, 2013.

If you are thinking of making a claim for damages on behalf of a baby who developed brain injuries in the circumstances, only a very limited number of law firms are permitted to represent you. Only law firms with a medical negligence contract with the Legal Services Commission [the LSC] can represent you using Legal Aid. The LSC only award legal aid contracts to law firms with accredited specialist medical negligence solicitors who are members of either the Law Society or Action against Medical Accidents [AvMA] medical negligence solicitors panels. Our firm has solicitors on both of these panels making us one of just 120 law firms out of 11,000 nationwide with a LSC contract who are allowed to represent you in your medical negligence claim using legal aid .

Unfortunately, the reforms are set to leave victims of medical negligence with two very serious problems when it comes to legal representation. Firstly, the lack of available funding may make it very difficult to find an affordable solicitor to manage their case – though that will not be so much of a problem if the claim is strong enough to be run by firms like ours under a no win no fee arrangement. Secondly, claimants will be more likely to make poor choices about which solicitor to choose and as a result could end up with inexperienced or generalist solicitors. When solicitors take on medical negligence claims without adequate expertise they often settle cases too early and do not win the full and fair amount of compensation that their client is entitled to.

Thinking of a Birth Injury Claim? – Contact our Legal Aid Medical Negligence Solicitors

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