Only in the event that court proceedings are issued, served and that the Defendant Solicitors have defended the personal injury or medical malpractice claim that will the court produce the directions. The directions of the claim are the timetable of the claim. The court will also provide directions after there has been Default Judgment.
The claimant and defendant Solicitors will usually suggest their preferred timetable to the court. Sometimes the solicitors agree the timetable between themselves and ask the court to rubber stamp the agreement.
In higher value and more complex personal injury and medical negligence claims a court hearing will be needed in order to agree the timetable. Often this is because the number and extent of the medical experts will need to be argued over. The solicitors will be mindful of their client’s and witness availability and the availability of their experts.
Often the parties will try to agree to change the court-imposed directions between themselves. Some of the directions can be varied between the parties, however, some of the key dates cannot be moved without permission from the court.
If a solicitor fails to comply with the timetable then if it is the Claimant who has defaulted then the claim could be struck out. If it is the defendant solicitor who has not complied with the directions then the defence might be struck out. Failure to follow the timetable set by the court and the imposition of a penalty by a court might lead to a professional negligence claim by a client against their solicitor.
In a personal injury or medical negligence claim a Claimant Solicitor should ensure that the directions are helpful to the claimant’s claim. Often a Claimant Solicitor will want to stop a Defendant from getting their own medical evidence; instead a Claimant Solicitor might suggest that a Defendant Solicitor asks the Claimant’s medical expert questions.