Medical Negligence And Wrongful Death Compensation Guide – Calculate Payouts Amounts – Who Can Claim Family Members?

By Cat Helena. Last updated 24th June 2022. Dealing with the death of a loved one is always hard, but dealing with a death caused by medical negligence is one of the biggest traumas possible. When we’re ill, we look to doctors to make us better. If a trained medical professional has breached their duty of care resulting in the death of a loved one, this guide on medical negligence wrongful death claims could help.

In some situations, a patient might die while receiving medical care through no fault of anyone else’s. However, there are certain circumstances where the medical care they received fell below the expected standard causing them to suffer fatal harm. In these cases, a medical professional may have acted negligently. If a similar situation has occurred involving a loved one, you may be able to pursue a claim and receive payouts for medical negligence.

If you believe you have a valid claim for medical negligence that caused death and would like to start a compensation claim today, please get in touch by calling 0161 696 9685. One of our advisors will be on hand to discuss your case with you straight away.

If you would like to know more first, carry on reading this guide, which will cover all aspects of these types of claims.

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A Guide To Death By Medical Negligence Claims And Medical Negligence Payouts

Medical negligence wrongful death compensation claim guide

Medical negligence wrongful death compensation claim guide

In everyday life, accidents happen, but in medicine, accidents can lead to avoidable deaths.

Losing a loved one in such a way is very hard to deal with and, at a later date, you may decide you want to seek justice for what happened by seeking compensation from the NHS or private hospital provider.

It’s not just hospitals that can cause death by medical negligence. All medical professionals have a duty of care to their patients. These include doctors, nurses, carers, dentists, surgeons and cosmetic surgeons too.

This guide aims to answer some of the questions that you may have, including:

  • “Can you sue the NHS for medical negligence?”
  • “How long after death can you sue a hospital?”
  • “How much compensation can you get for medical negligence resulting in death?”
  • ‘Could I get the medical negligence resulting in death average payout?’

You probably have many more questions, which is why here at Advice, we can offer free legal advice if you’re still considering whether to make a claim or not.   Call us when you’re ready and we’ll answer as many questions as you may have.

The information this guide will cover includes the duty of care owed to patients, the types of damages you can claim for, who can make a claim for medical negligence deaths, how compensation may be awarded and how to claim using a No Win No Fee service.

Death by Medical Negligence Payouts in the UK for 2022

You may want to know more about the potential payouts for death by medical negligence in the UK. You should know that there is no average payout as every claim is unique. The amount you could receive from the death of a loved one is dependent on many different factors.

The Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) can give you a better idea of the potential compensation payout. Should your claim be successful, the compensation you could receive depends on factors including how the death occurred and the deceased’s awareness of their surroundings leading up to death. Please bear in mind that these figures are not guarantees, meaning that your amount could differ to what is listed below.

This information has been taken from the latest guidelines, published in April 2022. These guidelines only apply to England and Wales.

Type of HarmCompensation BracketOther Details
Fatality plus add on claimsUp to £550,000 and overAwards may include compensation for the deceased person's pain and suffering as well as any losses affecting dependents, such as lost income.
Quadraplegia£324,600 to £403,990
The figure awarded will vary depending on different factors e.g. whether the person is aware of their disability, their life expectancy and the extent of any physical pain.
Brain Damage£282,010 to £403,990(a) Very severe brain damage that means the person can't demonstrate any meaninful response to their environemtn.
Paraplegia£219,070 to £284,260
The figure awarded will vary depending on different factors e.g. the severity of pain, the psychological impact, the age and life expectancy of the injured person.
Psychiatric Damage (General)£54,830 to £115,730(a) A severe case of psychiatric damage that has an impact on the person's ability to cope with life and their relationships.

Below you will find out more information about the types of damages you can claim for as part of a fatal accident claim. If you want to see if you’re eligible to claim or would like more information about the claims process, please contact us at a time that works for you. We can provide you with a free consultation using the details above.

What Else Can NHS Compensation Payouts Include?

In this section, we’ll provide some more information on private healthcare and NHS compensation payouts. While the wrongful death medical negligence claims calculator in the section above can give you an idea of what you could receive for the pain and suffering experienced by the deceased, there are other headings you may able to claim under. These headings are tailored to the suffering you may have experienced as a result of losing your loved one, and include:

  • Bereavement awards: Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, certain relatives are entitled to a bereavement award of £15,120, which is awarded by the government. If the deceased was an unmarried minor, their parents may receive this award. Otherwise, either the spouse of the deceased or the cohabiting partner for two or more years is eligible.
  • Loss of services payment: This covers any loss of services that may have been provided by the deceased. For example, picking children up from school, or the cost of DIY around the house.
  • Dependency payment: If you were financially dependent on the deceased, you may be able to claim a dependency payment to help with any financial hardship you may be experiencing. This will take into account the finances of the deceased, such as their income, investments, savings, and pension.

Our advisors can provide more information on what you could potentially claim for following the wrongful death of a loved one. Get in touch today for a free estimated value of your claim, or read on to find out more.

General Damages

The general damages element of a claim is paid out for the pain and suffering caused by the death of a family member and the impact it will have on future life.

Although you could use a medical negligence claim calculator to receive an estimate of potential payouts for medical negligence, the figures should only be used as a guide. Your actual settlement will vary depending on your specific case.

Special Damages

Whereas general damages are paid for physical pain and psychological suffering, special damages are paid for the financial losses (and future financial losses) incurred because of the death. Special damages may include:

Funeral Costs

If the death was caused by medical negligence, then the costs of a funeral can be included in the final compensation amount.

Travel Costs

In the time following the death of a family member, there may be a lot of travelling to and from the hospital and to see other family members. This can all build up quite quickly and so the costs of travel can be added to the claim.

Medical Expenses

If you suffer from any health issues because of the death of a loved one, you could claim back the costs of any medication or treatment you’ve had to pay for.

Lost Earnings – Future losses

If your loved one was the main earner in your family prior to their death caused by medical negligence, then you can claim for the future loss of earnings. The amount paid out will depend on their age, salary and job prospects.

An important thing to remember when it comes to claiming special damages is to retain all receipts, bills and statements that evidence the expenditures. Without them, you may not be able to claim for them.

What Is The Average Payout For Medical Negligence Resulting In Death?

As each claim is valued individually, there are no payouts that are generally awarded and each settlement will differ.

If you’d like a free valuation of your claim, call our team on the number above.

What Is A Wrongful Death Caused By Medical Negligence?

There are a number of reasons why a death may be classed as medical negligence and lead to a compensation claim. Common medical negligence death cases include:

  • Surgical error: A surgeon may have left a surgical instrument in the patient before closing up. As a result, the patient may have developed a severe infection that impacted their recovery from the original condition.
  • Misdiagnosis: A doctor may have misdiagnosed a stroke despite the patient exhibiting clear signs of the condition. As a result, they may have developed complications due to receiving no treatment for their condition, leading to death.

If a similar incident of medical negligence causing death has impacted a loved one, please call our team to see if you’re eligible to seek payouts for medical negligence.

What Duty Of Care Do Medical Professionals Owe Patients?

All medical professionals owe patients a duty of care to provide them with the correct standard of care. There are several regulators in place that oversee the standard of care being provided. For instance, the Care Quality Commission operates in England and Wales to ensure the fundamental standards of care are being met in health and social care facilities. 

Any break from the guidelines alone could be deemed a breach in the duty of care owed to the patient.

Statistics For Wrongful Deaths Caused By Medical Negligence

As per the NHS Resolution’s Annual Report 2020/2021, there were a total of 12,041 clinical claims settled during the same period.

Of those 12,041 clinical claims, 3,578 cost between £1,001- £25,000 in damages.

If anything about the death of your loved one leads you to believe that the care provided was below the minimum standards, please call our team of specialists for free advice.

Who Is Eligible To Bring A Claim For Medical Negligence Leading To Death?

Death caused by medical negligence claims can be filed by 3 different groups:

  • Any dependent of the victim
  • Family members of the victim
  • The estate of the victim

Family members who suffer psychologically can claim for medical negligence compensation as can the dependants of the victim who can also claim for their financial losses that the death has caused.

Claims On Behalf Of The Deceased’s Estate

When somebody dies because of medical negligence, they still have the right to make a compensation claim for their pain and suffering and their death. Obviously, they can’t actually make the claim themselves, which is why the right to claim is passed to their estate.

The estate can launch a medical negligence claim on behalf of the victim and any compensation can be added to their estate.

This can be a complex claim to make so we’d recommend you use a medical negligence specialist like those on our panel of solicitors. They will be able to guide you through the legal process, explaining everything to you along the way. If the victim didn’t leave a will, we can still help with obtaining the relevant paperwork to proceed.

Claims Brought By A Member Of The Deceased’s Family

Any family member has the right to claim compensation following the wrongful death of a loved one if they had a financial dependency on the victim, and also for the loss of the relationship.

As listed above, other costs such as travel costs and funeral costs can be included in the family members’ claim. Husbands, wives or civil partners are able to claim the bereavement payment which is paid by the government. This is on top of any compensation awarded.

Ways Medical Negligence Can Lead To Death

There are a number of ways that death could occur in a medical setting as we’ve already touched upon during this guide. These include:

  • Misdiagnosis of an illness which resulted in the wrong or no treatment being given.
  • Medication errors meaning the patient was given incorrect medication that either caused their death or led to their illness not being treated at all.
  • A delayed diagnosis that led to their condition getting worse when it could’ve been cured had treatment begun earlier.
  • Errors in surgery that led to the patient’s death.
  • Childbirth errors which led to the death of the mother or baby.
  • Errors with the level of anaesthetic administered which caused the death of the patient.

However, you must show that a trained healthcare professional provided care that fell below the expected standard and resulted in further or avoidable harm.

Any of these causes of death can lead to a compensation claim against the NHS or private healthcare provider, so please get in touch if you think you have a valid claim. An advisor can provide guidance on medical negligence death payouts in the UK.

Different Types Of Liability And Negligence Leading To A Wrongful Death

In UK law, there are different categories or definitions of negligence that results in death.  These are:

  • Contributory negligence – This is a case where the victim is said to be partially to blame for their death and the health professional is also partially to blame. A court will decide the relative percentages of blame and compensation is awarded accordingly.
  • Gross negligence – this is where a medical professional has gone against all standard operating procedures, practices and advice. In these cases, the professional may be struck off of the medical register.
  • Vicarious liability – this is where the negligence can be deemed to have been caused by the way in which the organisation operates, not the individual who treated the victim. This would be the case where you’d claim against the NHS or healthcare provider rather than the individual doctor.

When you speak with our advisers, we’ll assess your case and work out which category the negligence claim you’re making fits into.

Can I Claim For Medical Negligence Leading To Death Against The NHS?

Medical Negligence Wrongful Death Compensation

Medical Negligence Claims Guide

Everybody in the UK is treated whenever they need to be and for free in some of the very best hospitals in the world. Most people undergo life-saving treatment without any issues and everybody appreciates the great work provided by our medical professionals.

In some cases though, a mistake, error or an accident during treatment can lead to the death of a patient and it’s only right that this sort of error leads to compensation.

Claims against the NHS can be made and can be quite complex to prove as they require evidence that the doctor acted negligently. Proving this requires medical specialists on your side, which is why we recommend you use a medical negligence lawyer who has access to such resources.

Can I Claim For Medical Negligence Leading To Death Against A Private Medical Practice?

As with NHS hospitals, if a loved one has died while undergoing treatment at a private medical practice, you can claim compensation against the operator for the impact that the death has had on you.

The process is slightly different as the private medical providers don’t have the same compensation schemes in place as the NHS, but Advice.co.uk are still able to help you to make a claim.

A Loved One Died Due To Medical Negligence, What Should I Do?

When a loved one dies due to medical negligence, the first thing on your mind is not going to be evidence gathering, but there are steps that you should take if you believe you’re going to seek compensation for their death.

These steps will help your claim to be successful and to help prove negligence:

  • Obtain any paperwork supporting your claim including medical records, appointment times and dates, emails, x-rays and any other letters you’ve been sent regarding the treatment of the victim.
  • Get a second opinion from another medical expert. This will be an essential step in verifying the cause of death and that negligence was to blame.  If you need to proceed with this step, Advice can help arrange it for you.
  • Start to estimate your potential financial losses such as how much of your loved one’s salary you will miss out on, any benefits they were due or pensions, and also keep track of any costs you incur because of their death.

We know how much of a difficult time it will be following the death, but the more of the above you can do, the better the chances of successfully claiming compensation.

Fatal Medical Negligence Claims Time Limits

All medical negligence claims are time-limited, legally, in the UK. This means that if you were to claim after the deadline, there’s a good chance it’d be denied and no compensation would be awarded.

The current time limit is three years from the date of death. However, there may be exceptions. 

If you’re unsure if you still have time to claim, please contact our team as soon as possible.

How To Claim Compensation For Death Caused by Medical Negligence

We understand you may be going through a difficult time. However, our advisors are here to help answer any questions you may have.

We offer free legal advice and can assess your claim for free so that you know whether there is a good chance of success or not.

If it’s found that you have a valid case, we’ll connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel to begin the case.

No Win No Fee Claims For Medical Negligence Causing Death

Following a medical negligence death, the stress levels are high enough without worrying about the costs involved with lodging a compensation claim.

The solicitors on our panel can pursue any medical negligence claim on a No Win No Fee basis. In short, this service means you never actually have to find funds to pay the solicitor.

When you sign an agreement, you’ll be told what success fee the solicitor will charge if they win the case. It is a legally capped percentage of your compensation that the solicitor will retain.  If they lose the case, you don’t have to pay the success fee.

You may have read that if you pay your solicitor directly, you’ll keep 100% of your compensation, which is true but, if they lose the case, you still have to pay them. This is why we only use No Win No Fee solicitors for any case we take on.

How Our Medical Negligence Wrongful Death Advisors Can Help You

Our panel of specialist solicitors is compassionate, friendly and professional. They aim to secure as much compensation for their clients as possible in all cases and can offer free legal advice before and during your case to answer any questions that arise.

When you contact us, we’ll use the following process to deal with your claim:

Contact our team with the details of your claimWe listen to details of your claim and assess the merits of the claimIf we agree that your claim is eligible, and once you're ready, we'll begin your claim

Contact Us About Your Fatal Medical Negligence Claim

Our No Win No Fee solicitors have experience handling various types of claims, such as medical negligence and personal injury claims. 

If you’re happy to begin your claim, you can get in touch via any of these channels:

  • Telephone: Call us today on 0161 696 9685 and you’ll get straight through to one of our advisers.
  • Email: Send details of your claim to claims@advice.co.uk and we’ll get back in touch at a suitable time.
  • Online: Fill out our online contact form and we’ll begin the claim process for you.

When you contact us, one of our team will go through your claim with you, answer any questions you may have and then provide an honest assessment of whether we believe your claim has a good chance of winning compensation or not.

Additional Advice

Hopefully, you now have enough information about medical negligence death claims to decide what your next steps will be. For further information, we’ve provided some more relevant and useful guides below:

Dealing with grief and loss – an NHS article about grieving and dealing with the loss of a loved one.

What to do following a death – a practical look at the things that need to be done following a death from Citizens Advice

Bereavement Payment – Details of the bereavement payment offered by the government.

Learn more about medical negligence claims in our guides below:

Other useful guides:

Guide by TE

Edited by DEG

We hope this guide on making a medical negligence wrongful death claim has helped. For more information, call our team on the number above. They can provide further clarification on the medical negligence death payouts in the UK.