Losing a loved one is a very distressing time.
It is often made worse if the family feels that their relative did not receive an acceptable level of care from a medical professional in the UK, and that medical mistakes or clinical negligence may have contributed to their death.
In these circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation for medical negligence resulting in death.
Here at Thompsons, we have acted on behalf of many families where, sadly, the death of their much-loved relative could have been prevented with an appropriate and timely medical intervention.
Our experienced and dedicated medical negligence solicitors can guide you through the claim process and secure the compensation you are entitled to. We are here for you, every step of the way.
Frequently asked questions about claiming compensation for medical negligence resulting in death
Can I claim compensation if my loved one has died due to medical negligence?
Yes – if your relative has passed away due to medical negligence you can claim compensation for their wrongful death.
Each medical professional has a duty of care which compels them to take the maximum precaution in all treatment decisions, procedures and logistics. This duty of care requires all healthcare professionals to treat their patient's welfare as their top priority during any medical diagnosis or treatment procedure.
If medical professionals have failed in their duty of care, you can make a medical negligence claim for any resulting harm.
In the tragic cases where clinical negligence has resulted in a life being lost, we are typically instructed by a family member of the deceased, such as a surviving spouse, parent, child, or sibling.
There are two main elements of a claim for death caused by medical negligence:
- You can claim on behalf of your loved one for any pain and suffering experienced prior to their death. This is known as a claim on behalf of the estate.
- You can claim for the financial impact the loss of your loved one has had on the family.
Claims brought on behalf of the estate
Even after someone has died due to medical negligence, the right to pursue compensation for their injuries and death continues.
This part of the claim is brought on their behalf after their death to secure compensation for their pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
Beneficiaries under a will (or an intestacy if the person died without one) can seek compensation for what they experienced leading up to their death, as well as losses they suffered as a result of their negligent treatment – such as loss of income.
The property and affairs of a deceased person are known as their estate, so the claim is said to be brought ‘on behalf of the estate’.
Executors named in the deceased’s will are appointed to be responsible for the management of the estate. The executors therefore file any claim for compensation.
In the absence of a will, a family member can apply for a grant to become an administrator of the estate. The person applying will receive 'letters of administration', which is an official document recognising them as an administrator. The administrator can then bring a claim on behalf of the estate.
Claims brought on behalf of the family
The family of someone who died of medical negligence can also claim compensation on their own behalf, as they are entitled to compensation for their bereavement and loss.
Compensation may also be available to cover any financial impacts on the family resulting from the death of their loved one.
For example, if members of the family were financially dependent on the deceased, they can claim damages to help cover their financial losses.
The family can also claim for funeral expenses, or any other financial expenses incurred because of their loved one’s death.
How much compensation could I receive for medical negligence resulting in death?
The damages awarded for death by medical negligence varies from case to case, depending on a variety of factors, including the level of pain and suffering experienced by the deceased and the financial impact on the surviving family members. You may be able to claim for any financial losses resulting from the death of your loved one, such as loss of income and funeral costs.
How do I make a claim for death by medical negligence?
To start a claim, the executor or administrator should contact a specialist medical negligence solicitor.
You can contact our expert clinical negligence team by calling 0800 0 224 224 or requesting a call back. We’ll provide free, impartial legal advice with no-obligation to make a claim.
If you do decide to progress a claim, you will need to provide your solicitor with details of everyone who may be entitled to compensation. This includes anyone who is either a beneficiary of the estate, a dependent of the deceased, a bereavement award recipient, or all three.
Your solicitor will then contact everyone to determine what financial support or services they received from the deceased.
Evidence of dependency must be provided by the individuals – for example, by providing bank statements, bills, and/or witness statements. This evidence is crucial to quantifying the amount of compensation given to each dependent of the deceased.
The claim will then be investigated like any other form of medical negligence claim. As specialist solicitors, we will investigate the death and instruct qualified medical experts to determine whether the death was caused by the negligence of a medical professional.
What is the time limit for making a claim?
It is important to remember that time limits apply to clinical negligence claims, including claims arising from a death.
Generally, the claim must be filed within three years of the death, but the sooner you file your claim, the better.
Can I make a no win, no fee claim?
When a family member or a loved one dies due to medical negligence, we strive to provide our clients with the maximum amount of financial and emotional relief.
We understand how difficult these times can be, not only emotionally, but financially as well. As such, our no win, no fee agreement, also known as a conditional fee agreement, allows you to benefit from our expertise in clinical negligence without having to pay any upfront costs.
You will not be charged any fees if your claim is unsuccessful. If your case is successful and you are financially compensated, you will be required to pay a success fee, which we cap at 25% of your total compensation.
Why choose Thompsons?
At Thompsons Solicitors, we are experts in medical negligence claims.
We have represented thousands of clients in all types of medical negligence claims, including high profile cases such as those against disgraced breast surgeon Ian Paterson.
Our solicitors can support grieving families with medical negligence fatality claims of all types, including:
- Deaths caused by misdiagnosis or late diagnosis of an illness, including cancer misdiagnosis
- Fatal surgical errors
- Fatal prescription errors
- Medical negligence causing the death of a child
- Gross negligence manslaughter
We can also support families who need to attend a coroner’s inquest into the death of their loved one.
Request a call back for a free, no obligation conversation about your case with one of our specialist lawyers.