NHS Negligence That Caused Death & the Payout Values Available

Ian Lewis[1]

Ian Lewis

Money Savings Advice Medical Negligence payout values

While many people assume that on the death of an individual any right to claim compensation dies with them, this is not the case with many NHS trusts paying out to partners/families of victims. We only need to look at the recent NHS compensation figures to see they totalled a staggering £1.76 billion in the financial year 2016/17 alone! 

We also know that the NHS has outstanding potential liabilities of £65 billion. So, if you have recently lost a loved one, you may well be entitled to claim compensation for their pain and suffering and any additional impact on your life.

It is safe to assume that claiming compensation in the event of an individual’s death is a fairly complex process. It is therefore sensible to take advice from a personal injury claims advisor to see exactly what you need to do.

Unfortunately, the legal profession is very unforgiving, so if you miss deadlines or forget to send the relevant information, it may scupper your chances of claiming any compensation.

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How Is NHS Negligence Defined in Law?

When looking at medical negligence, the authorities will compare the treatment received against what could reasonably have been expected from someone else in the same position with the same experience/training. If there are significant shortfalls, then this may signal negligence which is the first step towards a compensation claim.

Who Looks After NHS Compensation as a Consequence of Negligence?

The potential liabilities of the NHS are so huge that no insurance company is able to offer the organisation any form of cover. Therefore the NHS is what is known as a self-insuring organisation which basically means that any compensation payments come directly from NHS funds.

There is a body called the NHS Litigation Authority, created in 1995, which oversees all medical negligence claims against the NHS. The body regularly releases reports showing ongoing claims and potential liabilities.

Is It Morally Right to Make a Claim Against the NHS?

If you or a loved one suffered as a consequence of medical negligence under the NHS, then you are perfectly entitled to pursue compensation. While many people struggle with the moral issue, it is worth remembering that unless negligent third parties are held to account, then nothing will change.

The procedures and processes which may have resulted in the death of a loved one will likely remain unchanged. While making a successful claim may lead to compensation, it will also ensure procedures are reviewed and changed. In the event that a similar injury occurs further down the line after the NHS was made aware of issues surrounding the death of your loved one, this is negligence.

Who Can Claim Compensation in the Event of a Victim’s Death?

Whether or not the victim had already begun a compensation claim relating to alleged negligence by the NHS is irrelevant. If the victim left a will, the executors of their estate could pursue compensation. In the event, there is no will then the deceased’s spouse, parents, children, brothers or sisters will be able to press ahead with a claim.

Will I Need a Grant of Probate?

A grant of probate is produced upon the death of an individual giving effective control over their assets to one or more parties. If a loved one/family member died without a will then, as a spouse, family member, child, etc., you will need to apply for a grant of probate to take control of their assets. This includes the right to pursue compensation in the event of death caused by NHS medical negligence.

What Evidence Do I Require for a Compensation Claim?

Even though gathering evidence for a compensation claim may be the last thing on your mind after the death of a loved one, the longer this process is left, the hazier the details will become. It is therefore important to gather evidence such as:-

  • Details of the incident
  • Photographic evidence
  • Details of the injuries
  • Cause of death
  • Medical reports
  • Witness statements
  • Details of similar incidents where applicable

Whether as an executor of the individual’s estate or a family member, it is important to approach a personal injury claims management company to review your claim.

How Much Does It Cost to Pursue a Compensation Claim?

If you approach a claims management company, they will review your case and evidence, then give you an idea of your chances of success. If they believe you have at least a 60% chance of success, then they will likely offer you the opportunity to proceed on a “no win no fee” basis.

This basically removes your liability to cover the claims management company’s expenses in the event of an unsuccessful claim. Where a claims management company believes your chances of success are less than 60% you would likely need to fund a prosecution out of your own funds/estate funds.

What Can I Claim for in the Event of Death?

This is where it can start to get complicated because there are various elements of compensation you can pursue. Assuming that negligence has been proven and accepted you may be able to claim for:-

  • The pain and suffering of the deceased until their date of death
  • Financial loss for the deceased until their date of death
  • Pain and suffering on behalf of family members
  • Loss of financial dependency for the deceased’s living family/relatives

If you lost a spouse, partner, child or member of your family then going forward, there might be significant financial challenges. Any loss of financial dependency is an added financial consequence that needs to be addressed when pursuing compensation.

What Is a Bereavement Award?

In the event of the unlawful death of a loved one, you may be able to claim a bereavement award under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. The level of compensation recently increased from £12,980 up to £15,120. As not all family members can apply for a bereavement award, it is important to take professional advice.


In the event of death as a consequence of NHS negligence, we need to reiterate that any claim for compensation does not die with the individual. Whether or not the claims process had begun is irrelevant. If the individual’s death was a consequence of NHS negligence, then either the deceased’s estate or remaining family can pursue a claim.

How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making a Medical Negligence Compensation Claim?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Medical Negligence Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for the negligence they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.

Money Savings Advice Author Ian Lewis

Ian Lewis

Ian Lewis is one of our specialist financial writers. Ian has over 15 years of financial writing experience, having worked for some of the largest financial publications in the UK covering topics from mortgages, equity release, loans and financial claims, to name a few.

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