Settlement in clinical negligence claims
Settlement in clinical negligence claims

The following PI & Clinical Negligence guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Settlement in clinical negligence claims
  • Introduction
  • When to settle
  • Part 36—form and content
  • Interim payments
  • Consequences of a rejected/unaccepted Part 36 offer
  • Outstanding Part 36 offers—don’t forget them
  • Changes to Part 36
  • Offers that fall outside of Part 36
  • Other methods of settlement
  • more

Introduction

Resolving claims by agreement is usually preferable to a trial. Claimants and defendants are spared the distress and cost of a trial, funders or insurers have earlier financial certainty, costs are covered sooner, and lengthy court time is avoided.

Furthermore, the overriding objective requires parties to help the court to ensure that claims are dealt with justly and at proportionate cost. This goal is furthered by early settlement, when appropriate.

Importantly, even if an offer does not result in settlement, it may still provide significant protection on costs.

The bulk of this Practice Note focuses on settlement using Part 36 of the CPR. However, do not forget you can also use non Part 36 offers or alternative dispute resolution. See: Settlement and settling disputes—overview and ADR—overview.

When to settle

Claims can be settled at any point in the litigation process including pre-action. Practitioners should regularly review the possibility of settlement from the outset. Ask the following questions:

Substance—are you in a position to consider settlement?

Before considering settlement practitioners must be confident that they have sufficient information on breach of duty, causation and quantum (including prognosis) to carefully evaluate the claim.

This does not mean that everything must be certain. Every situation is different and the client is free to agree to settle on terms that suit their individual needs and goals