There is nothing more traumatic than losing a loved one. There are many complicated feelings at play, especially when the family member was the sole provider or their death was the result of medical negligence. Dealing with death is devastating enough, but processing the wrongful death of someone you love can feel impossible.
Types of Claims for Medical Negligence
Medical negligence claims come in two types.
If you or your children were dependent on the deceased, then you may be able to claim a loss of income. It’s a complex path to pursue, and they aren’t necessarily the same as other claims so legal advice is imperative.
You can also file a medical negligence claim if you suffered a psychological injury following the wrongful death of your loved one. This is also known as a nervous shock claim.
What Is Classed As Medical Negligence?
When death is the result of medical negligence, relatives are entitled to make a claim of compensation. For this claim of medical negligence to be successful, the claimant must be able to establish the death would not have occurred if reasonable care had been exercised. The below is not an exhaustive list of examples but does highlight what is typically classified as medical negligence.
If your loved one was misdiagnosed and it led to their death, this is medical negligence. For example, failure to recognise early symptoms of a heart attack that leads to a patient dying from a heart attack is a preventable death.
Additionally, a delay in diagnosis could also be classed as medical negligence. For example, a late cancer diagnosis or failure to recognise the signs of appendicitis that results in sepsis.
- Surgical Error
There are many things that can go wrong during surgery. An anaesthetist providing the wrong dosage or incorrectly monitoring blood pressure that results in death. The surgeon can also make mistakes, including sloppy incisions, operating under the influence, or any range of errors. Some are more difficult than others to prove, however, which can make the claim process challenging.
- A Fall
If your loved one is in a care home or hospital and has a fall that results in severe injuries that lead to death, then this could be classed as medical negligence.
- There is a wide range of circumstances and situations that can be classed as medical negligence. Ultimately, if your loved one has died as a result of a breach of duty of care or as the result of medical malpractice, you should speak to a legal expert about what your options are.
◦ Incorrect diagnosis, treatment or medical advice in an emergency situation.
◦ Failure to undertake diagnostic tests.
◦ Failure to provide the proper post-operative care or advice.
How To Make A Successful Claim
If your loved one started the claims process before their death, the estate can still pursue the claim. For your claim to be successful, you will need to present evidence that the medical negligence resulted in your loved one’s premature death. You have to prove the issue is due to a specific action taken or due to a lack of action.
Ultimately, the surest way to ensure your medical negligence claim is successful is to seek legal advice.
The benefits or compensation you receive as the result of a medical negligence claim depend on which law covers the situation and where you live. For example, whether you plan to claim for loss of dependency or claim nervous shock/psychiatric injury, the compensation can be used as you deem fit. Typically, compensation is used to cover medical and pharmaceutical expenses, any care related to psychiatric injuries, loss of earnings from your loved one or your own loss of earnings due to psychiatric injury, as well as funeral expenses.
How AJB Stevens Can Help
It isn’t an easy path to take. There are a lot of checkpoints during the process, and a keen understanding of the procedures and rules is necessary. A review panel will hear the case and carry out a third-party review. This is not a court of law, but their decision will be used in court. However, the case will not go to trial if the panel determines there was no malpractice. Additionally, you will require a medical expert to give evidence before the case reaches the panel. The process can be overwhelming, and a legal expert can handle the complicated parts so you can focus on grieving.
If you believe you have a valid medical negligence claim, you need expert legal guidance. AJB Stevens are experts in medical negligence law and can help you navigate the journey. Skilled medical negligence lawyers can provide you with the facts, and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. There are time limits to pursuing a medical negligence claim, you generally have three years following the negligence to file your claim. However, certain states will allow for a long extension in special cases. So, even if you believe it may be too late, get in touch to discuss your case.