Court papers will be prepared and they will set out details of your claim. The hospital or doctor will have professional indemnity insurance and it is their insurers (or the State Claims Agency) that will generally deal with the handling of the claim. They will hire solicitors who will carry out investigations into your claim. If it is obvious that there was medical negligence involved, the solicitors will be anxious to settle the case quickly to save legal costs.*
If the other side do not admit that they were at fault straight away, they will usually request more detailed information about your claim and will often seek to have you examined by their own doctors. Ultimately, if they are denying that they were at fault, they will issue their “Defence” which will set out why they are defending the case. In some cases, they will admit that they were at fault but will continue to dispute the amount that should be paid.
Most of our medical negligence cases are settled. We are invited to settlement discussions with the lawyers for the other side. You will also attend this meeting. If the case is settled at one of these meetings, that is the end of the matter. Even if the case looks like it is going to trial, the case can be settled just before the case is heard.
If the case is not settled, it will generally be heard in the High Court and we will explain to you what you can expect on that day. However, full hearings of medical negligence cases happen only in a very small minority of cases.