Fatal accident claims

When somebody sadly loses their life due to the negligence of another person or company, their loved ones may be entitled to make a fatal accident compensation claim. Whilst fatal accident claims cannot bring someone back. They are a way of seeking some financial award for a death that should have been avoided.

Our specialist solicitors can advise you on how to seek compensation, so you achieve the best outcome possible.

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:

Bereavement damages

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.

Who can make a fatal injury claim?

The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 allows anyone dependent on a deceased person to claim compensation if the death was caused by another person’s negligence, misconduct, or error.

There are a variety of relationships that are deemed as dependent:

  • A spouse or civil partner.
  • Anyone who lived with the person for two years before their death.
  • Anyone who lived with the person immediately before they died.
  • Parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and anyone the deceased classed as a parent.
  • Children, including those adopted and those related through marriage or civil partnership.
  • Siblings.

Our solicitors can advise you if you are not sure whether you can make a claim due to your family’s circumstances.

Are there time limits for making a claim?

By law, there are normally three years from the date of the person’s death to make a fatal injury claim.

If someone was already dealing with a claim when they died, the three-year limitation automatically begins again from the date of their death. This gives their dependents extra time to continue with the claims process.

Have a question or need some help?

Why should you instruct a solicitor?

Losing a loved one is devastating, and when another person caused their death, it is even worse.

At Davisons, our specialists in fatal claims can help you to establish fault, which can help to ensure such an incident never happens again. We provide support during inquests by explaining medical and legal jargon to you in simple language, answering all your questions and keeping you informed throughout the fatal accident claims process.

We are dedicated to making sure you receive the justice, financial compensation and level of personal support you need. Our costs and timescales are made clear at the outset – if anything changes, we will talk this through with you.

Talk to Davisons

Our Free Initial Assessment gives you the opportunity to speak to one of our fatal claims experts so you can find out how we can help. There is no charge and no obligation whatsoever with most cases pursued on a no win no fee basis, subject to assessment.

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Fatal accident claims FAQs

What is the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934?

The Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 allows a deceased person’s estate to recover losses caused by a fatal accident.

The Estate acts on behalf of the Deceased to recover losses for the Beneficiaries. Compensation can be claimed for:

  • The person’s suffering and damage to the quality of their life. For example, if they were in pain or had to spend weeks in hospital.
  • Loss of earnings - If the person was unable to work and lost income between the time of injury and death.
  • Care and support (known as “Gratuitous care”) - If loved ones spent time caring for the person and this care went above and beyond what would have normally been provided.
  • Expenses - Any financial losses loved ones incurred as a result of the fatality. This could be hospital parking costs, loss of earnings due to caring for the person and more.
  • Funeral and probate costs - Claims can be made to recover the costs of the funeral and applying for probate.

Who can you claim for?

The most common fatal accident compensation claims are made by those who have lost a partner or spouse. However, the loss of other family members can also have a significant real, emotional and financial impact on those they loved.

Fatal injury claims can be made for the loss of anybody on the list of dependents as defined by the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (see above).

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