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If MPS is assisting you with the claim and a decision to settle is taken, we will contact the claimant’s legal team to agree on a settlement figure.If the case is being defended, the Notice of Intention to Defend – the form for which is on the rear of the Summons – is completed and submitted to the claimant’s lawyer.Another indication that a claim is imminent is a request for a patient’s records.
During this stage it is still possible for both parties to agree on a settlement out of court.
But if the case is heading to court, MPS will at this stage seek the opinion of an independent expert.
Here it is absolutely vital that you inform MPS, if you haven’t yet been in touch – a Summons has a tight time frame within which to respond and if you fail to do so, the claimant can apply for a default judgment against you.
If the court grants this application, this paves the way for a claim to be made against your property – the court can take some of your possessions to pay the claimant. There are two choices in how to respond to the Summons – settle the case out of court, or defend to trial.
If there is no reply to the Letter of Demand, the claimant will issue a Summons, which is a document that is stamped by the court and which lays out the details of the claim.
The particulars of claim, which set out the allegations against a doctor, usually accompany the Summons.
This means obtaining all the factual information, which will include a copy of the patient’s records and possibly an interview with the doctor concerned.
Once the facts have been ascertained, expert opinion on whether the case is defensible or not can be sought.
There may also be a fee payable to you to cover any costs, and we can find out exactly what that is.
Disclosing medical records has been covered in more detail in the article “Disclosing patient records” (Vol 20 No 3, September 2012), but essentially any request for records from a solicitor needs the consent of the patient.