Can I claim on behalf of another member of my family?
If your family member is under the age of 18, or is unable to represent themselves because of their injuries or their mental state, then you can act on their behalf as a “litigation friend”.
Making a claim for medical negligence can often be more difficult than any other kind of claim since it involves establishing that the treatment received fell below certain acceptable standards. Clearly, the definition of what constitutes ‘acceptable’ treatment is something that is highly debatable and the debate in question, usually carried out by experts on both sides of the argument, is what forms the basis of most medical negligence claims. In the majority of such cases, the person making the claim will be the one who was treated negligently, but occasionally this won’t be the case.
In some cases of medical negligence the patient will have been a child, under eighteen at the time of the treatment. Clearly, someone of this age isn’t capable of handling a compensation claim on their own behalf, and if your child has suffered illness or injury as a result of negligent treatment then you must act on their behalf, making decisions in their best interests and helping to get them the compensation which will make the rest of their life easier and more comfortable.
The gravity and impact of medical negligence cases can vary widely, from mild pain and inconvenience at one end of the scale all the way up, sadly, to avoidable death at the other end. If a close relative, such as a spouse or child, was treated in a negligent manner and, as a result, lost their life, then clearly it will be up to you to make a compensation claim on their behalf.
The main focus of any such claim will, naturally, be the emotional stress, pain and turmoil of losing a loved one but it should not be overlooked that the death of a breadwinner could also lead to considerable financial hardship. Any compensation awarded will take this loss into account, because, in the circumstances, the last thing you should have to worry about is money. Compensation for loss of earnings of this type may be paid out to a wider circle of people than spouses or parents – people such as siblings, ‘common law’ partners and children – if the court decides that they were to some degree dependent upon the income of the deceased.