An upsetting part of our job is acting for clients who have passed away and we understand that this is a very difficult time for the family. We may act for deceased clients either because:
- A family has contacted us with concerns about their loved one’s treatment; or
- The client passed away during the course of investigating a claim on their behalf.
Some people wrongly believe that once a person has died, we can no longer claim for poor treatment the deceased received but this is incorrect. A claim can be made on behalf of the Estate of the person that has passed away and this can be in relation to anything the deceased would have been able to claim for themselves (before their death) or the events surrounding their death.
Who Can Bring the Claim?
If the deceased had a Will, the claim can be brought on behalf of the deceased’s Estate by the named Executor(s) in the Will.
If the deceased did not have a Will, then the rules on intestacy apply. This sounds complicated but it just means that there is an order of people who can bring the claim and who may be entitled to the Estate. These usually include spouse, children (including adopted children) and parents. However, it can extend to siblings or extended family such as cousins.
For example; Mrs W passed away. She was married to Mr W who is still alive. Mr W would be able to bring the claim on behalf of the Estate of Mrs W.
Mr S passed away. His wife Mrs S, had already died 5 years before. Mr and Mrs S had 3 children. The children would be able to bring the claim on behalf of the estate of Mr S.
If you’re unsure who the right person is to bring the claim, we can help you work it out.
How Long Do We Have?
You usually have 3 years from the date of the death to issue the claim at Court. However, we recommend contacting a Solicitor sooner rather than later to discuss a potential claim.
Is it More Complicated Than Bringing a Claim for a Person Who is Alive?
Not really. We will need a copy of the death certificate, but if you do not have this then we can help you get a copy. The claim will be run like any other medical negligence claim.
As the claim progresses, you will need to obtain a formal Grant of Probate / Letters of Administration (if you do not have one already) but this is something that our Wills and Probate department can assist with.