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Massive rise in PL cases as number of clinical negligence claims also goes up sharply


Clinical negligence: 18% rise in claims

There has been a huge spike in the number of public liability claims, and the number of clinical negligence actions has also risen sharply, new government figures have shown.

However, the number of motor claims has fallen by nearly 10%.

The Department of Work & Pensions’ compensation recovery unit (CRU) recovers the social security benefits paid as a result of an accident, injury or disease, where a compensation payment has been made, along with costs incurred by NHS hospitals and ambulance trusts for treatment from injuries from road traffic accidents and other personal injury claims.

All claims are notified to the CRU and its newly published figures for 2012/13 figures from the show that PL claims shot up 57% to 164,973, meaning they have nearly doubled in five years.

By contrast the number of employer’s liability cases rose a modest 4% to 91,115, roughly in line with the figure in recent years.

Clinical negligence claims saw an 18% increase to 16,006 in line with the continuing growth of such cases; in 2007/8, there were 8,876.

There was a fall of 78,934 motor cases – or 9.5% – to 749,555, three-quarters of which was accounted for by fewer whiplash claims, according to figures obtained [2] by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers last month as part of its submission to the government’s whiplash consultation.

Overall there was a marginal increase in the number of cases registered with the CRU to 1,048,309. It recovered £133m in 2012/13, the lowest figure for some years.

Commenting on the increase in clinical negligence claims, Ian Pryer, senior partner at specialist solicitors Axiclaim, said NHS hospitals must now brace themselves for an “explosion” in claims in the wake of the Mid-Staffs hospital scandal and Francis report.

He said: “In the past, victims of medical accidents often had moral reservations about claiming against the NHS, despite having clearly suffered extreme negligence in some cases, but the shocking findings of the Francis report have now made hospitals fair game in the eyes of the public.”