Clinical negligence costs have 'spiralled' since 1980s

The cost of settling clinical negligence claims has spiralled over the past 30 years, with average claims now 34 times larger than in 1981, the MDU has said.

The MDU said the average claimants’ costs paid by the MDU this year was £44,500, while in 1981 it was just £1,300. This equates to an increase of three times the rate of inflation since 1981, the MDU said.

MDU chief executive Dr Christine Tomkins called for action to be taken to address 'excessive' legal costs.

‘The level of claimants’ solicitors’ costs has accelerated in the last 30 years, well above the rate of inflation and these costs are often completely out of kilter with the damages awarded to the patient,' she said.

‘This disproportionality has been even more marked in the last five years where, on average, costs represented 40% of the damages paid and in many cases, far exceeded damages. By comparison, between 1981 and 1990, costs represented just 15% of the damages awarded.’

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