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

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.

In some situations, especially for complex and serious illnesses, the patient dies while undergoing surgery because their illness was beyond treatment. But in some cases, the patient could’ve survived had it not been for medical negligence.

If you believe you have a claim for a medical negligence death and would like to start a compensation claim today, please get in touch by calling 0161 696 9685 and 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

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?”

You probably have many more questions, which is why here at Advice.co.uk, 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.

How Much Compensation For Medical Negligence Resulting In Death Can I Claim?

The table below outlines some of the different payments that may be awarded for death caused by medical negligence. The figures are based on guidelines produced by a legal body called the Judicial College, which reviews compensation awards made by the courts:

Type of ClaimAmount of compensation Info
Death where the victim was fully aware they were going to die£11,770 to £22,350The death can occur any time between a week after the accident and 3 months
Death where the victim knew briefly that they were about to die£9,870 to £10,010A period of pain (short), followed by unconsciousness followed by death at some time later
Death where the patient didn't know they were about to die£3,530 to £4,120The victim was immediately unconsciousness and died within a couple of weeks
Death where the patient didn't know they were about to die£1,290 to £2,620 The victim died within a week of the accident and had no knowledge of death due to immediate unconsciousness
Mental Stress and Anguish£4,380Where the victim had to live with the fear that they were close to death
Funeral Costs£2,500+This will depend on what costs were actually incurred
Loss of future earningsCan Be as high as £400,000 +Dependent on the age of the victim, their current salary and their job prospects

We know that it’s not all about money. Indeed, no amount of money will undo the injustice that has occurred, but the compensation is there to help you find your feet again following the death of a loved one and also to support your everyday life if the victim was the main earner in the family.

Types Of Damages Medical Negligence Death Claims Include

When a personal injury solicitor assesses the impact of a medical negligence death, they have a number of different elements that they may be able to call upon. These elements are known legally as “Heads of Claim”. Let’s look at them in more detail.

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. The calculator section above details some potential payouts for general damages.

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.

Punitive Damages

If the compensation claim is settled by a judge in court, punitive damages can be awarded, though they can be rare in this country. These are on top of any compensation and are a form of punishment levied against the defendant. The intention is to stop the defendant from making the same error again. 

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 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:

  • A mistake made during surgery which could’ve been prevented had something been done differently.
  • Surgery that took place when it wasn’t actually required.
  • Misdiagnosis of a condition which meant the actual condition wasn’t treated.
  • Incorrect anaesthetic control.
  • Errors made during cosmetic surgery
  • Negligence in a care home or care facility.

Negligence causing death in any of the above scenarios will probably see you eligible for a compensation claim, so please call us to check as soon as you are able to.

What Duty Of Care Do Medical Professionals Owe Patients?

All medical professionals owe patients a duty of care to protect them and ensure their safety.   There are strict guidelines issued to medical professionals which means they should take maximum care in all treatment options and during procedures.

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

Statistics regarding medical negligence cases include:

  • The Keogh review, conducted in 2013,  found that there were higher than expected death rates in 14 NHS trusts.
  • Only 4 NHS trusts, in the same period, received a ‘trust of the year’ award.
  • Scores in 2 of the 4 death rate indicators were low in most of the hospitals surveyed.
  • Another study claims that 1 in every 28 deaths could be blamed on substandard care in NHS hospital trusts.

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 medical negligence can lead to death 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.

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.

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

Negligent health worker

Negligent health worker

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.co.uk 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 limits for making a claim are:

Type of claimTime limit
Medical Negligence / Personal Injury Claim3 years from the date of the accident
Bereavement Payment1 year

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

At such a difficult time, you’re probably not going to want the hassle of making a claim, but deep down, you’ll know that it has to be done. Advice.co.uk are here to help and the easiest way to begin your claim is to pick up the phone and speak with one of our advisers.

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. We’ll try to make the claim easier for you by doing as much of the work for you and if we agree that you have a good 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 an agreed percentage of your compensation that the solicitor will retain to cover the cost of their services. It is a modest percentage that is capped by law, so you need not worry about losing lots of your compensation.  If they lose the case, you don’t have to pay them for their services at all.

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

Advice.co.uk specialise in medical negligence and personal injury claims.   When we take cases on, we only use No Win No Fee solicitors so as to make the claim process stress-free.

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 this online 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.

Workplace Rights 

No Win No Fee Claims

 

Guide by TE

Edited by DEG