legal feesThe DDU is calling on the government to introduce limits on the legal fees for dental negligence claims.

These calls come after the Department of Health held a consultation on fixed legal fees for ‘lower value clinical negligence claims’.

The Dental Defence Union (DDU) is asking for a rethink on the ‘low limit’ the current fee cap will apply to.

‘In lower-value claims, the fees claimed by claimant lawyers are still, on average, above the level of damages awarded and that cannot be right,’ John Makin, head of the DDU, said.

‘For example in one settled claim, the claimant’s costs were more than quadruple the settlement figure received by the patient.’

‘Adverse compensation environment’

‘The caps proposed are only for claims where compensation paid is between £1,000 and £25,000,’ John continued.

‘While this limit may help with some dental claims, we strongly believe that fixed costs should be applied to all claims settled up to £250,000 to have any meaningful impact.

‘In order to avoid over-valuation of claims and inflated costs being paid, the threshold of £250,000 must apply to the final amount of compensation paid to the patient, not the initial estimated value of the claim.

‘Fixed legal costs are only part of the solution to address the adverse compensation environment, which is so badly affecting our members’ ability to afford indemnity.

‘In the longer term, root and branch reform is needed of personal injury law.’