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The trial plays out in customary fashion, with both claimant and defendant lawyers presenting their side of the case.Evidence is presented and witnesses are called and they can be cross-examined.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.
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.
The flowchart (right) sets out the steps of the ensuing claim; this article will then discuss the process in more detail and describe how MPS can assist.
The Letter of Demand sets out what the claimant wants, and gives a time frame in which to satisfy their demand.
However, it is much better to have this criticism given to your defence team at this stage than have it played out in open court.
Your defence team will be better placed to prepare for the case if it has all the facts and potential vulnerabilities to hand.It is important to note that this expert is neither for or against the doctor in question; the expert is for the court, and is there to provide a reflective opinion on the specifics of the case.Sometimes this will mean the expert making criticisms of you, the defendant.The letter also serves as a warning that you will be taken to court if you do not comply within said time frame.If you haven’t already informed MPS, you should do so upon receipt of a Letter of Demand.Large claims in particular are on the rise, with MPS seeing an increase of 250% in the number of reported claims valued at over R2.5 million over the past five years.Because of this, we thought it useful to provide members with a step-by-step account of how a civil claim progresses – while also emphasising what you can do to assist MPS at each step, to ensure as swift and robust a response as possible.This is not a decision to be taken lightly; settle too easily and get a reputation as a soft touch or defend unnecessarily and accumulate costs.As a result MPS takes this decision very seriously and inevitably the claim is investigated.Following this, a documentary exchange takes place between both parties – this phase is called the Pleadings.The legal documents involved are prepared according to the rules of court.