What are fatal claims?
Fatal claims are made when somebody unexpectedly loses their life due to factors beyond their control. The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 gives relatives of people killed by the negligent and unlawful actions of others the right to recover damages.
When somebody dies as a result of a fatal accident, there is normally an inquest. A coroner or judge examines the circumstances and cause of the person’s death so that the details can be recorded on the death certificate and, where applicable, action can be taken to prevent a similar incident from occurring again.
What are the types of awards?
Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, there are four different types of awards:
A bereavement award is compensation paid to a spouse or civil partner. If the person who died was under 18 and unmarried, then compensation is paid to their parents. The Statutory Bereavement Award for damages is fixed by law and is currently £15,120.
Loss of consortium
This is compensation for the effect an accident or death has had on an injured or deceased person’s close relations, such as a child who has lost a parent or a husband who has lost a wife, whereby they will continue to suffer unquantifiable emotional loss.
Financial dependency claim
Anybody who was financially dependent on someone at the time of their death can make a compensation claim. Compensation can cover any future losses which will likely be incurred because the person is no longer alive to provide financial support.
Loss of services dependency claim
This is separate from financial dependency as it is a claim for the services the person who has died would have continued to provide if they had lived. For example, helping with children, household chores, DIY and anything they did to contribute to the household and the care of any dependents.