When someone has died as a result of a medical accident, we understand that no amount of compensation can ever make up for what has happened. We also understand that it can be extremely important for the person’s loved ones to get answers about how their death could possibly have come about and to receive reassurances that similar mistakes will not be made in the future.
In a claim for medical negligence which has resulted in a death can proceed on 2 bases:
Fatal Accidents Act 1976 - If it can be shown that the negligence caused, or materially contributed to the death, then we can pursue a claim under the Fatal Accidents Act. This claim will be for bereavement damages, which are a fixed statutory sum of £12,980 and can only be recovered by either a surviving spouse, or the parents of a child under 18; funeral expenses and any future losses which can be shown to have arisen as a consequence of the death (known as a dependency claim), for example for the loss of earnings, or services which the Deceased could have been expected to have provided, had they survived.
Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 - Irrespective of whether or not a negligent act has caused an individual’s death, it is also possible to pursue a separate claim for the benefit of their estate under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934.
This claim will be for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity that the Deceased endured between the date of the negligent event and their subsequent death. It will also include a claim for any financial losses sustained by the Estate as a consequence of these injuries, for example, the need to receive care and assistance, travel expenses, or loss of earnings.In order to proceed with a claim for a loved one who has passed away, it is important to obtain either a Grant of Probate (where the Deceased left a will), or Letters of Administration, where no will was made, in order to give power to their Executor or Administrator (depending on whether or not there was a will) to act on their behalf.
If you have lost a loved one as a result of medical negligence and would like some advice on obtaining either a Grant of Probate, or Letters of Administration, please contact our Wills & Probate Department on 0191 213 1010, Contact Wills & Probate button or fill in our form below.
Where a death has arisen as a consequence of a medical accident, it is fairly common for an Inquest to be held to try and determine the cause of the person’s death.
Here at McKeag & Co, we have experience of representing Clients at Inquest and will be happy to provide information regarding this process, and consider providing pro bono (free) representation at inquest, in order to assist the bereaved family.
If you have lost a loved one as a result of medical negligence in their treatment and would like some free advice on your options and whether or not you have a claim, please contact us on 0191 213 1010, Contact Medical Negligence or fill in our form below.