When a person dies as a result of medical negligence or some other wrongful act, a “wrongful death” claim* may be able to be brought pursuant to Part IV of the Civil Liability Act 1961 on behalf of the Estate and the dependants of the Deceased person. Only one action is able to be brought against the relevant wrongdoer in a “wrongful death” suit and that action is required to be brought on behalf of all of the dependants of the Deceased.
In a wrongful death action, it is necessary to prove that the Deceased’s death was the result of an alleged wrongful act. It is therefore necessary to establish that the alleged wrongdoer was guilty of a negligent act or omission or other wrongful conduct which caused an injury that resulted in the death of the Deceased.
Where a death suddenly occurs, from an unknown cause or in an unnatural manner, a Coroner is required to hold an inquest in order to establish the manner and circumstances of the relevant death. A Coroner also has an optional power to hold an inquest where a death may have been the result of negligence, misconduct or malpractice or from a cause other than natural illness or disease. Whilst a Coroner is not permitted to make any findings of fault or of civil liability against any person, an inquest is often helpful in establishing the medical causes of the death and may assist in identifying steps which could or ought to have been taken in order to avoid the relevant fatality.
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Where we can help
If a close family member has died as a result of what you consider to have been the negligence or fault of another person, it is important to seek expert advice in relation to whether there may be grounds to bring a “wrongful death action” by or on behalf of the dependants of the Deceased.
In the event there is to be an inquest into the death, you may wish to be legally represented in order to participate in the investigation and inquiry into the causes of your family member’s death. In the event there is evidence to support the bringing of a legal claim, damages can be awarded in respect of mental distress which has resulted from the death and for financial losses experienced by persons who were financially dependent upon the Deceased at the time of his/her death or who had reasonable expectations of receiving financial benefits from the Deceased in the future.
Our Legal Expertise
Ivor Fitzpatrick & Company have an experienced and expert team of medical negligence and personal injuries lawyers who have considerable experience in “wrongful death” actions.
Our team is headed by Susan Stapleton and David Harris who have each practiced in medical negligence and personal injuries law for over 25 years.
Ivor Fitzpatrick & Company have investigated the circumstances in which unexpected deaths have occurred such as during the course of medical treatment, during the course of one’s employment or in other accidents. We have frequently represented the family of deceased persons at inquests and have brought “wrongful death” actions on behalf of the dependants of a Deceased where there is evidence to establish that the relevant death was caused by negligence, breaches of duty or as a result of other wrongful acts of identified persons or institutions.
As the damages which are able to be recovered for the death of a family member are strictly limited by the Civil Liability Act, it is of considerable importance that expert advice and representation is sought in order to ensure that you are able to recover to the full extent which the law allows for the death of your spouse, parent, sibling or other close family member.