Q. Can I make a fatal claim for medical negligence?
A. Almost all areas of medical negligence can have the devastating consequence of causing a fatal injury. In order to bring a fatal claim, our specialist fatal claims solicitors will need to show that a medical professional failed to provide proper care and treatment, and that this failure led to the fatal injury of your loved one.
It is impossible to set out a comprehensive list of examples of fatal claims, as there are many different situations where medical mistakes result in a fatal injury, including:
- The patient has died following surgery or medical treatment.
- There has been a failure to diagnose and treat a medical condition.
- There has been a delay in diagnosis of cancer.
Our specialist fatal claims solicitors are all highly experienced in helping clients achieve the compensation that they deserve from GPs, hospitals, private consultants and also pharmacists.
Q. Can I make a fatal claim for personal injury?
A. Yes, our specialist solicitors are highly experienced in helping clients claim fatal injury compensation. We have helped clients receive compensation where the death was the result of a road traffic accident, an accident at work, an asbestos related disease or an accident abroad.
Q. Why should I bring a fatal claim?
A. A family can suffer significant financial hardship following the fatal injury of a loved one. Bringing a fatal claim will enable dependants to claim for the loss of financial income that the deceased would have provided and also for the loss of services (e.g. DIY/domestic chores) that they would have continued to provide.
Bringing a fatal claim can also answer questions about exactly what happened to the deceased and why.
Q. Will there be a post-mortem and/or an inquest?
A. A post mortem (autopsy) or an inquest can potentially help establish exactly what has happened and importantly what went wrong.
These will usually take place when a death results from violence or an accident, any cause other than natural illness or disease, during a surgical operation or if the deceased was not seen by the doctor issuing the medical certificate after they died, or during the 14 days before the death.
If, following the post mortem, the cause of death is still undecided, then the coroner will hold an inquest.
An inquest is held in public by a coroner, and may include a jury. Family members are allowed to attend the inquest and ask questions of witnesses that the coroner has called, in order to find out more about the cause and circumstances of the death. At the conclusion of the inquest the coroner will make a verdict in relation to the death. We regularly represent family members at inquests.
Q. Who has the legal standing to bring a fatal claim?
A. Generally speaking the executor named in the deceased's Will brings the fatal claim on behalf of the family. If the deceased didn't leave a Will then the personal representative of the deceased may bring the fatal claim.
Q. Who has a right to compensation?
A. The law clearly sets out who can recover compensation in a fatal claim, and it includes the following people:
- civil partners
- partner who was co-habiting with the deceased for over two years
- a child, including a child who is not a blood relative but who was treated as a child of the family
- dependants (those who depended on the deceased financially)
Q. What do you need to prove to be successful in a fatal claim?
- Medical negligence: Our specialist fatal claims solicitors will need to show that the medical professional(s) involved failed to provide proper care and treatment, and that this failure led to the fatal injury. Independent medical experts will be instructed by our specialist fatal claims solicitors to comment on the care provided.
- Personal injury: Our specialist fatal claims solicitors will need to show that the death was caused by an accident that was the fault of the defendant.
Q. How are damages calculated in fatal claims?
A. Every fatal claim is different, but generally the following losses are recovered for the death of a family member who was in employment:
- Bereavement award
- Pain and suffering for the deceased
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of income/pension to the dependants
- Loss of services such as DIY, domestic chores and childcare