What if I need surgery in the future

I had an accident in 2017. I am now approaching settlement of my case and my solicitors sent a statement of financial losses to the other side’s solicitors with a breakdown of the money which I am claiming. I was advised to claim the costs of private surgery for a hip replacement and revision surgery which the surgeon acting for me has said will be required over the next few decades. The other side’s solicitors have sent us a “counter schedule” not offering to pay anything for this surgery as they say that due to likely medical advances the hip revisions will not be required and anyway I could have the surgery on the NHS. Can they do this?
James Barnsley, Sutton

Answer

It is utter speculation to suggest what might happen in terms of medical advances over coming decades. Cases are settled on the basis of medical thinking and skills, practice and procedure of the day. I suggest that you ask your solicitor to write to the orthopaedic surgeon instructed in your case setting out what the defendant is arguing and asking for his/her opinion. The surgeon will likely confirm that the current body of medical opinion is that the surgery is required and that the revisions will be required at the intervals (10 to 15 years is commonly stated by surgeons) detailed in his/her report. Regarding the NHS point, you are entitled to the private costs of surgery and this is law set in statute. The Defendant often argues this point without success.

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