Patients’ DIY justice

Keep it Legal: Litigants in person

The additional challenges of defending a claim when the patient is not legally represented are explored here by Niloo Bozorgi. She hopes the courts may becoming a little less lenient towards such litigants

A claim is always distressing to face and time-consuming to deal with. 

Your insurer or medical indemnity provider will assist you or instruct lawyers to advise you. But you will have to provide them with input: 

  • An explanation of the medical records; 
  • Your recollection of what happened; 
  • Your opinion of the allegations made against you. 

At various stages throughout the process of defending or settling the claim, you will find this time-consuming; and even more so if the claimant – your patient – is not legally represented.

A litigant in person (LiP) is the term used to describe an individual who represents themselves in legal proceedings. 

This is not a new phenomenon in civil law. However, since the cuts to public funding for legal costs and the increase in the jurisdiction of the ‘small claims’ court, there has been a sharp rise in the number of LiPs.