Expert recommends changes to reduce medical negligence costs

One legal expert has recently recommended radical changes in order to reduce the costs associated with rampant medical negligence claims crippling Ireland’s health service.

Irish negligence expert, John Savage, has said that medical negligence solicitors have reported significant claims costs throughout the past 10 years.  The accident claim expert added that this marked increase is especially prevalent with claims relating to birth injuries caused by doctor or midwife negligence that results in the baby suffering from cerebral palsy, which leads to a personal injury compensation payout that must support them for the rest of their natural lives.

Throughout the Celtic Tiger years, the costs associated with providing this specialised care have increased at a rate that far exceeds inflation and shows no signs of reduction or abatement.  The State Claims Agency, a subdivision of the National Treasury Management Agency, manages the majority of these claims, with the compensatory damages paid to medical negligence victims disbursed indirectly by taxpayers through the Exchequer.

One other significant source of the costs of these negligence claims is from legal fees.  The lawyers of the victims are particularly responsible for generating high legal costs, with one recent claim seeing a €4.5 million negligence compensation resulting in a €500,000 payout to her solicitor and more than €100,000 in fees paid to her senior counsel.

State Claims Agency director, Ciarán Breen, recently addressed the Dublin Solicitors Bar Association, remarking that medical negligence claim legal costs have reached unsustainable levels, especially in light of the memorandum of understanding from the EU and the IMF that requires Ireland to take steps to reduce legal fees before the end of this year’s third quarter.

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