What is the effect of COVID 19 on the value of clinical negligence claims?

With the current pandemic placing strains on the NHS, how will existing and future clinical negligence cases be affected?

Susan Liver, Medical Negligence Partner at Birchall Blackburn Law, explains: “The claim for pain and suffering is unlikely to be affected because damages are assessed by the Judicial College Guidelines and Case Law.

“Loss of earnings head of damage could be affected if a claimant’s area of work is affected by the economic downturn. Questions will be posed such as: Would the claimant have been furloughed or lost their job anyway? And it also depends upon what an employer did in the Covid crisis.”

Access to treatment during COVID pandemic

Access to treatment is affected such as physiotherapy and talking therapies. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) recently reported that only 15% of CSP members said that they can provide the services they normally offer. However, limited help has been offered by telephone/video and the CSP is actively campaigning for more resources such as staff and facilities.

Demand for physiotherapy, in particular is high at the moment because people with long-term conditions may have experienced muscle deterioration during lockdown. There is also a backlog due to the new rehabilitation requirements of people recovering from severe Covid.

Future loss of earning impacted by COVID

Susan Liver says: “Loss of earnings will be affected. A Claimant lawyer uses the Ogden tables to assess future losses. Furthermore, it is our view that the Covid pandemic is likely to impact on life expectancy by reducing it. This would therefore reduce multipliers and reduce the value of future losses.”

Can I still make a clinical negligence claim during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes – you can still make a clinical negligence claim during the pandemic.

Unfortunately, other illnesses and diseases are unaware we are in a global pandemic. People are still living day-to-day with injuries and life-changing conditions, as well as developing cancers, and will need legal support to help them build a new life.

Our Medical Negligence team helps victims and their loved ones involved in medical mistakes and diagnosis delays. You still have the option to make a medical negligence claim during the pandemic.

Where Covid will impact on a medical negligence compensation claims is the speed in which hospitals, GP surgeries, medical experts and other medical professional bodies are able to meet to requests for medical reports and evidence. Rightly so, the whole of the health sector is focused on fighting the pandemic and will not have the time or personnel to answer medical evidence requests, which will slow the civil compensation process.

Making a claim if a relative has died from COVID-19

If your relative worked in healthcare as frontline staff in England and died from contracting COVID-19 in their workplace, your family may be eligible for a £60,000 payment from the government.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Nothing can make up for the tragic loss of a loved one during this pandemic. We owe a huge debt to those who die in service to our nation and are doing everything we can to protect them.

“Financial worries should be the last thing on the minds of their families so in recognition of these unprecedented circumstances we are expanding financial protection to NHS and social care workers delivering publicly funded care on the frontline.”

Please visit the Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme website for more information.

Should anyone require assistance in respect of a clinical negligence matter please do not hesitate to contact Susan Liver, Partner on 01772 552278 (Direct Dial) or by email – svliver@birchallblackburn.co.uk