Personal Injury, Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence

The Legal Aid and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO)

Changing the tide on funding for personal injury and clinical negligence cases.

The dust is settling on LASPO, which came in to force 1 April 2013, sending personal injury and medical negligence solicitors into a frenzy of activity in order to secure the best funding options for existing clients.

Whilst scarcely reported in the press, LASPO has bought about probably the greatest changes to litigation funding ever made. This has considerable implications for personal injury and medical negligence Claimants and their solicitors.

In essence, LASPO has removed the existing blanket of protection for a client without existing insurance between their litigation and the costs of their litigation.  The changes come in to force for any new client after 1 April 2013 or for existing clients who are not already on a CFA with insurance and who have not yet commenced court proceedings.

The key areas of change are in relation to;

· The recoverability of success fees under Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs)

· The recoverability of After the Event insurance premiums

· The recoverability of the Defendant’s costs from unsuccessful Claimants.

· The recoverability of legal costs which are disproportionate to the compensation recovered.

· An increase of 10% on general damages (the award for pain and suffering)

· A potential 10% penalty for the Defendant who fails to accept a Claimant’s reasonable settlement offer.

The upshot of these changes is that it is unlikely to be possible for solicitors to offer Claimants litigation which is completely free from costs, even where the case is successful.

It is particularly regrettable that these changes have been made despite the revelations of the Mid-Staffordshire hospital scandal.  These changes make it more difficult for Claimants to have cases investigated, yet now seems to be a more important time than ever for patients and Claimants to have a level playing field and fair representation.

Our funding pages are awaiting update, but please contact us in order to discuss your funding options in more detail.