By Cat Wayne. Last Updated 27th September 2023. If a loved one has been fatally harmed due to medical negligence, you may be looking for more information about wrongful death negligence claims.
Within this guide, we will discuss the eligibility criteria that must be met to be able to make a fatal medical negligence claim, as well as who could pursue a claim. Furthermore, we will discuss the time limits that must be adhered to. We will also share examples of the types of compensation that could be awarded. Additionally, this guide will discuss some of the benefits of making a wrongful death claim with the help of a No Win No Fee solicitor.
You can contact a member of our advisory team if you have any questions about wrongful death claims. They can also provide you with free advice.
To speak to one of our team members, you can:
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- When Could A Wrongful Death Medical Negligence Claim Be Made?
- Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death on the Behalf of the Deceased?
- How to Make a Claim for Wrongful Death
- Average Payout For Medical Negligence Resulting In Death
- No Win No Fee Solicitors For Medical Negligence – Claim For Wrongful Death
To make a death by medical negligence claim, it must meet the following criteria:
- A medical professional owed the deceased a duty of care
- This duty was breached
- As a result, the deceased suffered avoidable harm and subsequently passed away
All medical professionals owe their patients a duty of care. While the exact details of this duty can vary between fields, all professionals must provide a minimum standard of care. If they fail to do this, and their patient suffers harm that could have otherwise been avoided, this is could constitute medical negligence, for which you could be eligible to seek compensation. The General Medical Council (GMC) offers guidance for their expectations for registered doctors in their Duties of a Doctor.
If your loved one died as a result of medical negligence, then you may be able to make a compensation claim under the (FAA). We discuss this legislation in further detail in the following section.
Read on to learn about how much compensation for death by medical negligence could be awarded if you lost a loved one. Or, contact our team of advisors to get started with a claim. They can evaluate your claim for free, and may be able to offer more insight into the claims process.
Under the Law Reform Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1934 (LRMPA), the deceased’s estate can make a claim for the pain and suffering the deceased experienced prior to their death.
The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (FAA) allows certain qualifying relatives, known as dependents, to make a claim for how the death has impacted them. The FAA defines a dependent as:
- A husband, wife or civil partner (former or current).
- Someone who was living with the deceased for 2 years prior to their death as spouses.
- A child or other descendant of the deceased, or someone the deceased treated as their child.
- A parent or other ascendant of the deceased, or someone the deceased treated as a parent.
- The sister, brother, aunt, uncle of the deceased or any of their children.
It is important to note that for the first six months following the death of the deceased, only their estate can bring forward a claim on behalf of the pain and suffering of the deceased and the dependents. After this point, the dependents can bring forward their own claim for how the death has impacted them if the estate has not done so already. Only the deceased’s estate can make a claim for the deceased’s pain and suffering.
For more information on who could make a wrongful death negligence claim, you can contact our friendly advisory team.
As previously stated, the deceased must have been fatally harmed due to a medical professional breaching their duty of care for a wrongful death negligence claim to be valid. Collecting sufficient evidence could help with proving that a breach in duty of care occurred and that this caused the deceased’s death.
Some examples of the evidence that could be used to help support a wrongful death claim include:
- A copy of the deceased’s medical records, stating any surgery they had or illnesses they were diagnosed with.
- A coroner’s report, stating the cause of death.
- Any X-rays or test results (such as blood tests) taken prior to their death.
- The contact details of anyone who witnessed the treatment of the deceased.
Furthermore, the findings of the Bolam test may be used as evidence. This is when a panel of relevantly trained medical professionals assess whether the treatment of care that was provided was of an acceptable level.
For more information on the evidence that could be used in a wrongful death claim, you can contact one of our friendly advisors.
Compensation can be awarded for the pain and suffering of the deceased. In the table below, we have provided examples of figures taken from the 16th publication of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This is a document that provides guideline compensation payouts for various types of injuries.
Please only refer to these figures as a guide.
|Fatality plus add on claims
|This could include compensation for the pain and suffering of the deceased as well as other awards.
|Up to £550,000 and over
|Very Severe Brain Damage
|Factors that could impact the award include responsiveness to the environment and insight levels.
|£282,010 to £403,990
|The amount will depend on factors such as awareness and pain levels.
|£324,600 to £403,990
|Levels of awareness, pain, depression and independence will impact the award.
|£219,070 to £284,260
|Severe Psychiatric Damage
|Marked issues coping with education, work and life. The prognosis will also be significantly poor.
|£54,830 to £115,730
|Severe Reactive Anxiety Disorder
|Inability to work or function the same as pre-trauma levels due to permanent effects.
|£59,860 to £100,670
|Injury Resulting in Death
|The person is fully aware for a short period of time before fluctuating in and out of consciousness for 4-5 weeks. Death will occur within a few weeks up to 3 months.
|£12,540 to £23,810
What Else Could Be Awarded In A Wrongful Death Negligence Claim?
Other forms of compensation that could be awarded in a wrongful death negligence claim include:
- Funeral costs.
- Dependency costs – this includes the loss of past and future earnings that the deceased was providing.
- Loss of services – for example, if the deceased helped with childcare or at-home DIY.
- Loss of consortium – this accounts for the losses that cannot be financially quantified elsewhere, and covers things such as the impact on a familial relationship or loss of companionship.
Certain relatives can also receive a bereavement award. This is a lump sum of £15,120 in Section 1A of the FAA. It can be awarded to:
- A civil partner, wife or husband.
- Someone who cohabited with the deceased for 2 prior to their death as wife and husband.
- The parents of the deceased if they were a minor and unmarried.
If more than one person claims this award, the amount will be split between them.
For more information on the compensation that could be awarded in a fatal medical negligence claim, you can contact our friendly advisors.
If you are making a wrongful death negligence claim on behalf of a loved one, one of the medical negligence solicitors on our panel may be able to help you. Furthermore, they may offer you a type of No Win No Fee arrangement known as a Conditional Fee Agreement.
When you make a claim with a No Win No Fee solicitor under this type of arrangement, some of the benefits include:
- Not having to pay them any upfront service fees.
- Not having to pay them for their work during the process of your claim.
- In the event that your claim is unsuccessful, you will not be required to pay them fee for their services.
However, if your claim is successful, you will pay the solicitor working on your case a small percentage from your compensation settlement. This is known as a success fee, and the percentage that one can be is legally limited.
To learn more about making a fatal medical negligence claim, or to potentially be connected with a No Win No Fee solicitor on our panel, you can contact our friendly advisory team. They are available to help you 24/7.
To speak to one of our team members, you can:
Learn More About Medical Negligence Claims:
Further guides by us regarding medical negligence claims:
- Medical misdiagnosis claim solicitors.
- Medical negligence compensation calculator explained.
- Hospital negligence claims.
- Department of Health and Social Care – NHS Constitution for England.
- General Medical Council (GMC) – The duties of a doctor registered with the GMC.
- Care Quality Commission (CQC) – Find a hospital.
If you have any further questions about wrongful death negligence claims that this guide may have not covered, you can contact one of our advisors.