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Death due to medical negligence

Making a fatal medical negligence claim after a loved one has died

Coming to terms with the loss of a loved one is difficult enough. Even more so if you feel that they did not receive acceptable care from their treating doctors and that medical mistakes or medical negligence may have led to their death.

Our specialist fatal medical negligence solicitors have acted for many families where, sadly, the death of their loved one could have been prevented with appropriate and timely medical intervention.

If you believe you may be entitled to compensation for a loved one’s death due to medical negligence, call 0800 316 8892 or get in touch online to book your free claim assessment. One of our experienced and compassionate solicitors will listen carefully to your experience, advise you on whether you have a claim and talk you through your funding options, including a ‘no win, no fee’ arrangement.

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Types of fatal medical negligence

Although very rare, sadly death due to medical negligence does happen. Our knowledgeable solicitors have many years’ experience helping families claim compensation.

The types of fatal medical negligence claims we’ve dealt with include:

  • Delayed hospital referral – on presentation of an acute condition e.g. brain haemorrhage, heart attack or pulmonary embolism.
  • Delayed diagnosis – delay in diagnosing acute infection, such as meningitis or sepsis, or delayed treatment of cancer or another illness where there could have been an earlier intervention.
  • Delayed surgery – failure to provide emergency surgery or care, where there has been presentation of an acute condition.
  • Surgical negligence – mistakes on the operating table such as perforation or damage to internal organs that is difficult to repair.
  • Fatal medication errors  catastrophic drug errors caused by incorrect medication or incorrect doses being dispensed to a patient.
  • Negligence during childbirth – leading to a stillbirth or death of the mother.

Who can claim compensation for death due to medical negligence?

Generally, we’re instructed by close family of the deceased. Often this is a surviving spouse or other next of kin such as a parent, sibling or child.

If there was a Will appointing an executor at the time of death, they can bring a claim on behalf of estate and apply for a grant of probate, which is needed for Court proceedings. If there was no Will, the person representing the deceased can bring a claim but will need take out a grant of Letters of Administration instead.

Types of compensation for fatal medical negligence

Compensation for pain and suffering

The Court looks at the pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before they died, which can be limited and low value, particularly if death was sudden following a short illness. For bereaved families, the award for pain and suffering does not really compensate adequately for the loss of life and loss of expectation of a life for the future, especially for a young adult.

Bereavement damages

There are specific categories of claimant who can recover damages. Payments are normally limited to the spouse or civil partner of the deceased. If the deceased was under 18 and unmarried, a parent may be able to make a claim. The amount of this award is fixed by law and reviewed from time to time.

Funeral expenses

Compensation for the cost of the funeral and other reasonable associated expenses.

Claims for dependents

If you’ve lost a spouse or partner who you relied on financially, you’re considered to be “a dependent” and there are often serious financial implications for you to cope with in addition to the emotional turmoil.

It’s possible to recover compensation for loss of dependency, including dependency on income and dependency for services, e.g. care and assistance. While damages can never properly compensate for such a devastating loss, they can help provide for your future needs, particularly if you’re now the sole parent to a young family.

Claims for trauma

The law regarding who can claim compensation for trauma following a death is complex.

In wrongful death claims involving the death of a baby, the mother’s claim will generally be straightforward as she was directly involved in the negligent events, but it’s not always so for a claim involving the father because the law classes a family member as a secondary victim of the events.

For the same reason, trauma compensation for family members can be difficult to prove unless the circumstances are exceptional because they must have been present and witnessed the events causing the death.

Support and guidance through inquests

Following an unexpected and sudden death in hospital, it’s common for a Coroner to be involved and an inquest may be held to investigate the cause of death. This can be a daunting and emotional process, particularly in a medical context, because without specialist knowledge, it can be hard to understand what errors were made.

We have the experience and understanding to support you through the inquest process and give you access to leading independent specialists to investigate whether medical errors caused your loved one’s death. You may also be able to secure medical records if they’re available, which can provide expert evidence and may be useful in formulating questions to be raised at an inquest.

Our expert medical negligence solicitors can represent you at the inquest, or, through our longstanding connections with leaders in this field, we can arrange for you to be represented by a specialist barrister.

Why choose us for your fatal medical negligence claim?

  • Supportive and understanding approach – we know this process can be incredibly emotional, so we’re dedicated to making it as painless and straightforward as possible for you.
  • Proven winning record – we have a strong track record of recovering significant compensation for death due to medical negligence.
  • Accredited specialists – our expert team includes solicitors who are members of AvMA and The Law Society’s medical negligence panels.
  • Strong links to medical experts – we have excellent connections to clinical specialists who can advise on the complex intricacies of fatal medical negligence claims.
  • Senior oversight – one of our experienced medical negligence partners will supervise your claim, so you can feel confident you’re in safe hands.

Our experience with fatal medical negligence claims

  • £100,000 to the family of a patient who died at home from a pulmonary embolism after he had called the ambulance service complaining of breathlessness. The Ambulance Trust negligently failed to take the patient to hospital by ambulance as an emergency.

Contact a medical negligence solicitor

If you’d like to seek compensation for a death caused by medical negligence, call us now on 0800 316 8892 or contact us online. We offer a free consultation, with no obligation to go any further after this initial meeting. We represent clients nationwide from our offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton.

“During a most difficult time for my family Marguarita Tyne helped and guided me through the process of getting justice following Mother’s untimely death due to a medical error. I would have no hesitation in highly recommending Marguarita, who has been nothing but professional and diligent in helping us get the best result in the most unfortunate of circumstances. She is extremely knowledgeable on this subject, and without her I feel we would have simply become another statistic that could have been swept under the carpet, I will always be most grateful for her help.” JP Beaconsfield on the Inquest process

“Excellent service and very professional. Big thanks to Kerry Fifield for all her help. We saved lives and raised awareness. Couldn’t be happier and more grateful that Lily did not die for nothing.” Phil from Lincolnshire

Book your free claim assessment today

It can be hard to know where to start when you believe medical negligence caused a loved one’s death. Get in touch online or call 0800 316 8892 to discuss your claim and the compensation you could be entitled to with one of our empathetic, specialist solicitors.

Your key contacts

Marguarita Tyne

Head of Personal Injury & Medical Negligence

Marguarita Tyne is a claimant clinical negligence solicitor who investigates and brings claims on behalf of patients who have been injured during the course of their medical treatment, acting mainly (but not exclusively) for brain injury claimants in high value and often complex litigation.
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Kerry Fifield

Partner and Clinical Negligence Team Manager

Kerry’s primary focus is the needs of the client and their family when pursuing a claim, taking into account that each client is an individual with specific requirements who needs to be supported in addition to the legal investigation.
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Meet our personal injury and medical negligence team

With seven offices throughout England and Wales, Clarke Willmott is a national law firm with a local presence. Click to learn more about our wider team of legal professionals and how they can support you.

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