Last year, Dr Karen Addy published an article titled ‘Psychological Perspectives on Why People Pursue Medical Negligence Litigation’.

She highlights how the government is searching of ways to reduce the amounts of medical negligence claims made in England and Wales.

Their policy sits amongst a common perception that the country is a particularly litigious one, a position fuelled by the media which frequently denounces our ‘compensation culture’.

Yet, as Dr Addy points out, the government has not considered why people are pressed in the first place to pursue a medical negligence claim.

There have been a number of studies into this topic, and they conclude that such decisions “are not simply a result of a culture that encourages litigation.”

Instead, a study by Vincent, Phillips and Young (1994) indicates that there are four main reasons why people proceed with litigation:

  1. Concern with standards of care and the prevention of further incidents
  2. The need for an explanation of how the incident occurred and why
  3. Financial compensation for actual losses, pain and suffering or for future care needs of the individual
  4. Accountability of others in positions of power for their actions

Dr Addy advances the psychological impact of the reasons cited above, saying they can in turn “lead to further psychological distress…such as depression, anxiety and adjustment disorders which exacerbate the experience of the physical injuries.”

This is certainly our experience, and as Dr Addy states: “Often legal recompense is the only way the client has to access timely treatment, gain control of their lives and gain awareness of understanding from others about the impact of the incident on them.”

These issues have been largely overlooked by the government, whose primary focus is the cost of medical negligence claims, rather than the individual’s access to justice.

This is evident from their proposed policy of fixed fees, which if implemented could deny many victims of medical error the chance to pursue legal action.

Contact a solicitor today

If you would like to make a medical negligence claim, please contact us at Glynns Solicitors.


Share Article With:

delicious digg facebook reddit twitter stumble upon