What can I claim following the death of a loved one?
If a loved one has died, although it may be the furthest thing from your mind, a legal claim may be able to help you with the financial pressures which often follow.
First, Can You Prove Death by Medical Negligence?
Before you can make medical negligence death claims, you need to prove that the death could have been avoided. This could be negligence by another car driver or because the hospital failed to diagnose an illness which became fatal.
What Can I Claim for After a Medical Negligence Death?
Compensation for the negligence can then include the following:
1. Pain and suffering by the person who died, prior to their death
2. Expenses incurred by the person who has died caused by the negligence
3. Funeral expenses
4. Claims for those who were dependent upon the person who has died
5. Loss of the love of a partner or parent
6. Bereavement damages
Considering each of these in a little more detail:
1. Pain and Suffering
Compensation is awarded for the injury itself and the pain and suffering caused. The amount is often felt to be quite low but is based on previous cases and the Judicial College Guidelines. In general terms, the amount of compensation is informed by the severity of the pain and the length of time pain was suffered. This compensation for pain and suffering is termed “General Damages.”
The court can award money for expenses you have already incurred as a direct result of the negligence (referred to as “past losses”). For example, the travel costs in attending hospital to treat injuries or the costs of employing a carer.
3. Funeral Expenses
You can claim for the cost of the funeral and associated costs.
4. Claims for Dependents
If the person who has died provided an income which others relied upon or provided services, then these can be claimed as compensation.
Loss of earnings which the dependent spouse and/or family relied upon can be claimed for the length of time that income would have been received had the death not occurred. This can add up to a significant amount of money.
If the person who has died provided services such as child care, house work or caring for a relative, the cost of providing this commercially instead can also be claimed. This can make a big difference and can provide for commercial care to be brought in or for a bereaved spouse to give up work and care for the children.
5. Loss of Love
A very small sum can be sought for a spouse or children for the loss of love they would have had.
6. Bereavement Damages
This is a claim that benefits only certain people. A husband or wife is able to claim for damages for bereavement if they lose their spouse, and parents can claim for the loss of their child, providing he was an unmarried minor at the time of his death. A sum of £12,980 is awarded.
How Much Could I Get in Medical Negligence Death Claims Compensation?
When all of these different types of compensation are added together, the amount of compensation can be significant and often hundreds of thousands of pounds. Where there is financial hardship following the death of a loved one this can make a significant difference for future financial security.
If this is something you would like to investigate further, please get in touch with our specialist medical negligence solicitors. Both friendly and knowledgeable, they will be able to take you through your options and help you secure the compensation you deserve.