5.6.19

Can you claim medical negligence compensation for someone else?


Where a person has received substandard care or injury as a result of some action or inaction by a medical professional, they may have a claim for medical negligence compensation.

Doctors and other medical professionals have a legal and moral duty to uphold the highest standards of patient care and usually medical treatment only results in positive outcomes. However, when medical professionals do fail to fulfil their duty of care, it can result in serious injury or even death.

In most situations, the patient who suffered the medical negligence will be the one to bring a claim for compensation. However, where a person cannot bring a claim themselves, for example, because they died as a result of the negligence, it is possible for someone else to bring a medical negligence claim on their behalf.

When can you claim medical negligence compensation for someone else?

You can bring a medical negligence compensation claim for people unable to bring a claim on their own, including:

Children
Minors under the age of 18 are unable to start legal proceedings. However, when a child is unfortunately injured as a result of medical negligence, a parent or guardian can bring a claim for compensation on their behalf.

Protected parties
You can make claims for medical negligence compensation on behalf of individuals who lack mental capacity – as defined by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 – to start their own claim, for example because they have suffered a brain injury or illness. Such individuals are called “protected parties”.

Deceased people
Where a person has sadly died due to medical negligence, the family of the deceased or the executors of the deceased’s Will can bring a compensation claim.

How to claim medical negligence compensation for someone else

Children and protected parties
Litigation friends are people appointed by the court to conduct legal proceedings on behalf of a child or a protected party. Anyone, in theory, can become a litigation friend, including:

· Parents, guardians, or family members
· Solicitors
· Court of Protection deputies
· People with lasting or enduring Power of Attorneys

To apply, you need to complete a certificate of suitability declaring your ability to conduct the claim and submit this to court when starting legal action against those responsible for the injury or death.

Deceased people
Where a person has died as a result of medical negligence, claims can be brought:

· On behalf of the deceased’s estate – the executor of the estate can claim compensation for the deceased.

· On behalf of family members – the death of a loved one due to medical negligence can be extremely traumatic for members of their family as well as having a significant practical impact on their lives. Therefore, family members can claim compensation for things such as funeral costs, loss of income, and emotional damage.

How long do you have to claim medical negligence compensation for someone else?

Normally, the time limit for starting a personal injury claims, such as medical negligence, is three years from the date of the injury or death.

The exception to this rule is legal proceedings on behalf of children and protected parties. For children, you have until the child turns 18 to begin the claim. After age 18, the child has a further three years to bring the claim themselves.

For protected parties, there is no time limit on when the claim can be brought. However, if the protected party recovers their mental capacity, the three-year clock will start ticking.

How much compensation can you get for medical negligence claims?

Any compensation settlements accepted by litigation friends need to be approved by the court. The amount of compensation awarded will depend on the seriousness of the injury sustained, the potential for future recovery, and the impact on the injured person’s quality of life.

There are two types of compensation you can claim:
· General damages – for pain, suffering, and loss of amenity
· Special damages – for losses such as loss of earnings, medical expenses, funeral costs, and care requirements

Support for your medical negligence compensation claim
Claiming compensation for medical negligence on behalf of a loved one can be a challenging and emotional time so it is essential that you have support and guidance as you go through the complicated court processes.

Having the support of a lawyer who specialises in medical negligence claims is essential to provide you with sensitive but practical advice at every stage of your medical negligence claim.

Many medical negligence solicitors will take your loved one’s case on a no win, no fee basis, so you can focus on doing everything necessary to win compensation on your loved one’s behalf without having to worry about legal costs as the claim progresses.

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