Deaths caused by medical negligence
If a loved one has died as a result of negligent medical care then you have the right to know why and what caused their death. Finding this out can help a bereaved family start the long process of accepting their loved one’s death.
Relatives often report to us that the main motivation behind seeking a resolution of their concerns is the need to prevent the same mistakes from happening again in the future.
Cases involving a fatal outcome can include:
- Wrongful diagnosis of a medical condition
- Delays in diagnosis
- Failures to identify and treat symptoms
- Misinterpretation of scans or tests
- Medical processes not being followed properly
- Failures to identify underlying issues which cause further complications, e.g. cardiac arrest or sepsis
- Falls in hospitals or care homes
- Failures or delays by ambulance and paramedic services
In some cases, it may not become apparent until some time after your loved one’s death that there had been negligence either contributing to or causing the death. You have three years from the date of death to bring a claim, so it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as you become aware that there may have been shortcomings in medical care leading to the death.
Making a fatal medical negligence claim
If a loved one has died as a result of negligence, who is eligible to bring the claim will depend on whether or not the deceased left a Will.
If they did leave a Will then the Executors can pursue the claim.
If there was no Will then the rules of intestacy must be followed and there is a strict order in which people will be entitled to pursue the case. We will gladly discuss this with you in more detail, as each case is individual to the circumstances. If you have not already done so, you will likely need to apply for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration in order to progress the claim and we can advise on and assist with this if necessary. A Grant gives authority to the legal next of kin to bring a claim when someone has died.
If your claim is successful, you may be able to recover some or all of the following:
- Damages to reflect the pain and suffering of the deceased
- Reimbursement of funeral expenses
- Compensation for the loss of care, assistance or financial support that the deceased may have been providing to dependants
- In some cases, bereavement damages
How we can help with fatal medical negligence claims
At Nelsons, our expert Medical Negligence team takes great pride in our approach to dealing with these highly specialised, often complex cases with the utmost care and compassion. We understand that it is a very difficult time for you and the thought of legal proceedings may cause you further distress and anxiety, but we are here to help you every step of the way.
We offer a free Initial consultation so speak to us if you think you might have a claim and we will be able to advise you on next steps. We will assess who is legally entitled to bring the claim on behalf of the estate of your loved one, who will be entitled to compensation and the estimated value of any claim so that you can make an informed decision on how best to proceed.
What else can we do?
We can help you make a complaint to the healthcare provider in the first instance, if we deem that appropriate. Sometimes this step is necessary to try and narrow down the issues to be investigated and also to seek an apology or acknowledgment for the failings in care. This process will also assist if you want to see changes implemented to avoid the same shortcomings happening to anybody else.
The coroner may be involved and in those circumstances you may be considering whether or not you require legal representation at an inquest. For further information about how we can assist you with an inquest, please click here.
Our team in Derby, Leicester and Nottingham are ranked in Tier One of the independently-researched Legal 500, and are recommended by Chambers and Partners as one of the top teams of specialists in the country. Additionally, the team has been shortlisted as finalists for the second year running for Claimant Team of the Year in the national Personal Injury Awards.
If you have any questions in relation to fatal medical negligence claims, please contact us to discuss how we can help on 0800 024 1976, through our online enquiry form or by using our online chat.
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