Death Claims

When a close family member passes away as a result of another person’s negligence, then his or her family members may be entitled to compensation.

There are two types of claims which close family members can bring in the event their loved one passes away in those circumstances. These claims are:

  1. Compensation to Relatives Claims
  2. Nervous Shock Claims

Compensation to Relatives Claims

A compensation to relatives claim is available to any close family members who had a financial and/or practical dependency on a deceased person. 

The law in New South Wales works to compensate close family members for the loss of financial and practical services which the deceased would have provided over the reminder of their life. 

These claims can make a significant financial difference to the lives of close family members who relied on the deceased person, especially spouses and children. 

It is important to know that only one set of compensation to relatives claim can be brought on behalf of a deceased’s persons family members.

Nervous Shock Claims

A claim for nervous shock is available to any close family members who have suffered a psychiatric illness as a result of the negligently caused injury or death of a close family member. 

Under the law in New South Wales, ordinary grief and sadness is not compensable. To be entitled bring a nervous shock claim, a person must have suffered a recognisable psychiatric illness (i.e. PTSD, depression, anxiety etc). This condition would need to be formally diagnosed by a psychiatrist. 

If a person has suffered a recognisable psychiatric illness then they will be entitled to be compensated for the impact the psychiatric illness has on their life, employment, need for future treatment expenses and any other care requirements they may have.

Coronial Inquests

A coronial inquest is a court hearing in which the NSW State Coroner investigates the facts and circumstances of a reportable death. This involves calling witnesses, considering the deceased person’s history and any expert evidence. 

The Coroner’s duty is to hand down his or her findings in respect to the manner and cause of a reportable death.

In NSW, a reportable death is a death that was:

Although Coronial Inquests are statutory mechanisms, it is important that interested parties are represented as the Coroner’s findings may give rise to further legal claims.
For a more in-depth explanation of the State Coroner’s Court of New South Wales, please click the following link.

If you require legal advice regarding the death of a loved one being referred to the Coroner’s Court, or would like to know your legal entitlements in compensation arising out Coronial Inquests, please contact one of our experienced lawyers at Stacks Goudkamp.

Contact your local team for a personal consultation to find out if you are eligible to make a claim. Call 1800 251 800 or contact us today.



Most medical negligence claims are not clear cut. The way we determine whether a person has a medical negligence claim is by conducting a thorough investigation. This investigation involves taking a detailed history from the person involved and any witnesses available. We then request a complete copy of their medical records. Once we have all the material we require, we analyse it carefully. We then qualify an independent like-trained expert to comment on whether they consider the standard of treatment and care provided to that person was acceptable.

If that expert is prepared to criticise the treatment or care as being below an acceptable standard, then it is only at that time that we can establish that a person actually has a medical negligence claim.

A medical negligence claim can be brought against any person or entity who has a duty of care in providing competent and reasonable medical treatment to a patient. Medical negligence claims are most commonly brought against public and private hospital medical and nursing staff, as well as specialist doctors. However, claims can also be brought against:
  • General Practitioners
  • Radiologists
  • Dental Professionals
  • Chiropractors and Osteopaths
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Facilities responsible for a person’s care such as a Correctional Centre
A claim can be made a against more than one person or entity should multiple medical professionals breach their duty of care towards a person.
Medical negligence is a complex and highly technical area of law, and making a medical negligence claim requires experienced and expert lawyers to assist you with the process.
In New South Wales, there is a time limit in which a person can bring a medical negligence claim. This time limit is 3 years from the date of discoverability, which is the first date a person ought to have known:
  • That an injury has occurred.
  • That the injury was caused by the fault of another person.
  • That the injury was sufficiently serious to justify bringing a claim.

As can be seen, there are some circumstances in which a person can bring a claim for an injury which occurred more than 3 years ago. However, to determine whether this is possible requires a detailed understanding of your situation to help us advise you further.

Every medical negligence claim is uniquie, and brings its own challenges with individual facts and issues. Therefore, there is no typical timeframe within which medical negligence claims may resolve. In our experience, medical negligence claims can take anywhere from 2 to 4 years to resolve. How long each claim takes to resolve depends on a lot of different factors, many of which are outside our control. The main factors which impact how long a medical negligence claim can take to resolve include:
  • The time taken to access medical records
  • The complexity of the medical issues involved in the case
  • The availability of experts
How vigorously the claim is defended by the defendant lawyers.

Being injured as a result of a medical professional’s negligent treatment and care can be life changing. Unfortunately, it often results in permanent pain and suffering, ongoing treatment expenses, requirement for care and loss of income. Bringing a medical negligence claim is about your future financial security.

Although, compensation is unable to change what has happened to a victim of medical negligence, it can go a long way towards alleviating any financial stresses which people often find themselves in as a result of the injury they have suffered.

Stacks Goudkamp are highly experienced and specialised personal injury lawyers. Our medical negligence lawyers specialise only in medical negligence litigation. This means they are a dedicated expert in the area and can ensure you receive the very best outcome to which you are entitled.

I could write a book as to how the last 4 years would have been different if not for Tom and his team.
The support, assistance, advice from the first conversation till even after the settlement was second to none from the team at Stacks Goudkamp.
Four years on and after many downs, my children and I have our lives back.
We are unable to THANK YOU enough, but know that you have changed our lives for the better in so many ways since the accident.


Contact your local team for a free consultation to find out if
you are eligible for compensation