Claiming The Bereavement Award In A Clinical Negligence Payout

If your loved one has passed away because of a breach of a medical professional’s duty of care, you may wonder if you could be awarded the bereavement award in a clinical negligence claim. This guide will address what the bereavement award is and when it could be applicable.

Bereavement award for clinical negligence guide

Claiming The Bereavement Award In A Clinical Negligence Payout

We will also look at the legislation in place that allows claims to be made for the benefit of the loved ones of those who have passed away as a result of negligence. This guide will also include some examples of how settlements are arrived at and a look at the value of the bereavement award.

If you would like to see if you could claim for the death of a loved one caused by medical negligence, you can get in touch today. Our advisors will be happy to offer free advice. Furthermore, if you do have a legitimate claim, they could provide you with a lawyer from our panel.

You can:

  • Call us on 0800 408 7825
  • Contact us online
  • Use our ‘live support’ option bottom right to access immediate help

Select A Section

  1. What Is Clinical Negligence?
  2. What Is The Bereavement Award In Clinical Negligence Claims, And Who Could Receive It?
  3. Who Else Could Claim Under The Fatal Accidents Act 1976?
  4. How Are Clinical Negligence Claims Calculated?
  5. No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Claims
  6. Find Out More About The Bereavement Award In Clinical Negligence Claims

What Is Clinical Negligence?

Medical negligence is a term used to describe a breach of a medical professional’s duty of care that causes avoidable and unnecessary harm. All medical professionals have a duty of care towards those they treat. This means that the care they provide must meet a minimum standard.

In some cases, medical negligence can result in a patient passing away. If this is the case, a compensation claim could be made. 

However, not all instances of death in a medical setting will be the result of a breach of duty of care. In some cases, a patient’s condition might worsen despite the level of care that is provided being of the correct standard. 

For example, if a patient has an unknown allergy to a drug and is administered this drug, it might cause an allergic reaction that results in their death. However, if the allergy was unknown, then administering the drug may not be considered a breach of duty, meaning there is no claim to be made.

What Is The Bereavement Award, And Who Could Recieve It?

There are two main pieces of legislation surrounding claims made when someone has passed away due to negligence. The Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 allows the estate of the deceased to make a compensation claim that accounts for the pain, suffering and losses they experienced before their death. The estate can also claim for the benefit of any dependants of the deceased. For the first 6 months after the death, the estate is the only party who can bring a claim forward. 

However, if no claim is made within 6 months, the dependants can pursue their own claim. However, this can only be made for their benefit; they won’t, for instance, be able to claim compensation that accounts for the pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before they passed away.

Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, the dependents of the deceased, as defined in the legislation, can make a claim for the way the death has impacted them. This includes the bereavement award.

The bereavement award is a payment of £15,120 that can be awarded to certain parties. It may be able to be claimed by:

  • The deceased’s husband, wife or civil partner
  • The cohabiting partner of the deceased
  • The parents of the deceased

If more than one party is eligible to receive this amount, it will be split equally between them.

Changes To Bereavement Award

In 2020, the Damages for Bereavement (Variation of Sum) (England and Wales) Order 2020 came into force. This changed the value of the award, increasing it from £12,980 to £15,120.

Furthermore, The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (Remedial) Order 2020 is the legislation that broadened the scope of who could claim this amount. It was extended to unmarried cohabiting couples, where it previously only applied to spouses or civil partners.

If you would like to see if you are able to receive the bereavement award in a clinical negligence claim for the death of a loved one, speak with a member of our team today.

Who Else Could Claim Under The Fatal Accidents Act 1976?

Certain categories of dependants may be able claim under the Fatal Accident Act 1976 even if they’re not eligible to receive the bereavement award. The following parties are classed as dependants and so may be able to claim under this piece of legislation:

  • The deceased’s husband, wife or civil partner (current or former)
  • Someone who lived with the deceased at the time of the death, had been doing so for at least 2 years prior, and lived with them in that period as spouses or civil partners.
  • A parent or other ascendant of the deceased, or anyone who the deceased treated as a parent
  • The child or another descendant of the deceased, or someone who was treated as their child through a marriage or civil partnership
  • The deceased’s uncle, aunt, sister or brother, or the children of any of these relatives

If you would like free advice about receiving the bereavement award in a clinical negligence claim, or about other payments that could be owed, speak with a member of our team. They can discuss other factors with you, such as how long a medical negligence claim could take to conclude.

How Are Clinical Negligence Claims Calculated?

You may be wondering how much money can be awarded in fatal medical negligence claims and the different costs that can be compensated for. As well as the bereavement award, a clinical negligence claim for the benefit of a dependant could include payments for the following:

  • Loss of consortium. This takes into account the loss of a special person and the companionship they offer
  • Loss of services. For example, if the deceased picked up the children from school every day or performed DIY tasks around the house, and the dependant now needed to pay for someone to do this, then this could be considered.
  • Financial losses. This could account for the impact that the loss of the deceased’s income has had.

Below, we have included a table with some guideline amounts that could be relevant in fatal accident claims. However, these should not be taken as a guarantee.

Edit
Injury Notes Compensation Bracket
Quadraplegia Paralysis of the body below the neck. Award will consider (for example) the extent of physical pain and life expectancy. £324,600 to £403,990
Paraplegia Paralysis of the lower part of the body. Award will be impated by factors such as degree of pain and psychological effects. £219,070 to £284,260
Brain damage Very severe. There is little if any meaningful interaction with the world around them, and they require full-time care. £282,010 to £403,990
General mental harm Marked problems in many areas of life. Factors affected could include relationships and ability to work or study. £54,830 to £115,730
Fatality plus add-on claims Compensation might include considerations for how the deceased suffered before their death and the losses of any dependents Up to £550,000 and above
Death- Full awareness Levels of consciousness fluctuate for between four and five weeks, and intrusive treatment might be needed. Death occurs within three months. £12,540 to £23,810

These figures have been taken from a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines. This is used by solicitors to help them arrive at a value for compensation claims.

Speak to our team today for free advice about making a claim. They could offer guidance on aspects such as collecting evidence in support of your case and how much compensation could be awarded. Furthermore, if your claim is valid, they could connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel.

No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Claims

If you work with one of the fatal medical negligence solicitors from our panel, they could offer to represent you under a No Win No Fee agreement. In particular, they could offer you a Conditional Fee Agreement. This typically means that:

  • You don’t need to pay upfront or as your claim progresses for your lawyer’s services.
  • If your claim isn’t a success, there’s nothing to pay for the work your lawyer has undertaken.
  • In the event that you’re awarded a settlement, a legally-limited percentage will be deducted by your solicitor, ensuring you keep the majority of the compensation.

Speak with our team for a free, no-obligation and impartial consultation. One of our advisors could offer you advice about claiming the bereavement award in a clinical negligence case. Furthermore, if you do have a strong claim, they could connect you with a No Win No Fee lawyer from our panel.

You can:

  • Call us on 0800 408 7825
  • Contact us online
  • Use our ‘live support’ option bottom right to access immediate help

Find Out More About The Bereavement Award In Clinical Negligence Claims

Below, we have included links to more of our guides that you could find useful:

Can I claim for the misdiagnosis of testicular cancer? 

A guide on suing your doctor for negligence

Limitation in fatal accident claims

We have also included some additional resources below that you could find useful:

NHS- Help with bereavement 

General Medical Council- Duties of a doctor

Government advice on steps to take if someone dies

We hope that this guide on the bereavement award in clinical negligence claims has been useful. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Article by EA

Publisher ET