Fatal accident claims – Claiming compensation after the passing of a loved one
Unexpectedly losing someone you love can feel devastating. Below, we explain your legal rights to claim compensation and other financial support if you’ve lost a loved one in a fatal accident.
Last Updated November 6th, 2023
The most important things to remember when making a fatal accident claim:
- There are multiple laws in place to protect the family left behind of a loved one who has passed after a fatal accident that was caused through the negligence of another
- You can claim for statutory bereavement, which is currently £15,120
- You can make a dependency compensation claim if you were supported or reliant on the income of the person who has passed away
- Compensation amounts can be claimed for both financial dependency and service dependency
- In most cases, you have three years to start your claim
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When can I make a claim for a fatal accident?
A fatal accident compensation claim can be made following the death of someone who has unexpectedly lost their life due to the unlawful negligence of another.
Fatal accident compensation is intended to provide dependents of the person who has passed with monetary help to ease their financial burden following a loss.
The amount of compensation a dependent will be able to claim will depend on the circumstances. The claim is not made on behalf of the deceased but by the family for their financial loss after the death.
In most cases, you have up to three years from the death of a loved one to start your claim. Speak to our experienced no win no fee solicitors today to discuss your claim.
How much compensation can I claim for a fatal accident?
As a dependent of someone who was the victim of a wrongful death, you may be able to make both a Statutory Bereavement Award claim and a dependency compensation claim for financial loss.
What is the Statutory Bereavement Award?
As part of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, a statutory bereavement award is a payment made to dependents following a death of a loved one when someone else’s negligence was the cause of death.
You are eligible to claim Statutory Bereavement if you are a family member or were a cohabitating partner, living together for at least two years before your loved one’s death.
How much is the Statutory Bereavement Award?
Currently, the amount awarded for Statutory Bereavement is £15,120. It can be paid to the deceased’s husband, wife, partner or the parents of a deceased child under 18.
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What is a dependency claim under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976?
You can make a dependency compensation claim if you were supported or reliant on the income of the person who has passed away.
The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 states that if you were either partially or entirely financially dependent on the person who has passed, you can make a claim to recover the loss of the financial support you would have reasonably expected to receive if the person who has passed had survived.
Family members who can make a dependant’s claim include:
- Husband or wife
- Cohabitating couple living together for at least two years
- Children or a person treated as a child
- Parents or guardians
- Brothers or sisters
- Aunts and uncles
- Former husband or wife
How much compensation can I receive for a dependency claim?
There is no defined upper or lower limit to the amount of compensation you may receive, but the amount awarded should be in proportion to the loss that the dependent has suffered and could have reasonably expected to receive if the person had not been injured.
Compensation amounts are based on both financial dependency and service dependency.
What are the compensation amounts for financial dependency following a fatal accident?
The amount of compensation you may receive is based on the consideration of what the person who passed may have earned had the accident not happened. This could include:
- Income from their work, such as salary and bonuses
- Lost pension
- Lost income from any investments and savings
Once this is calculated, an adjustment is made considering the amount of money the deceased may have spent on themselves if still alive.
The final amount awarded may be subject to a reduction if the accident was caused by contributory negligence.
What are the compensation amounts for service dependency following a fatal accident?
Compensation for service dependency looks at a person’s contributions beyond their financial contribution to the dependent’s benefit. Such contributions as caring for children, or elderly parents, DIY, or even cooking and cleaning are considered.
Loss of service dependency claims are typically more challenging to value, and we recommend making a list of what the deceased did for their family, as it may be essential to claiming the accurate level of compensation.
When can I claim compensation under The Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934?
Compensation claims under this Act are usually made when the person who passed briefly survived the accident but died soon after.
Claims can be made for the pain and suffering the person may have experienced between the accident and their death. If a claim has begun either by the deceased or their family, the value of this claim will be passed to the Estate on the date of the injured person’s death.
The Estate effectively acts on behalf of the deceased person to pursue a claim for them (in their absence), with any compensation received distributed through their Estate to the beneficiaries.
How much compensation can I claim for a fatal accident under The Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934?
Compensation amounts for pain and suffering are set by the Judicial College Guidelines and are based on the severity of the injury. These are known as General Damages.
Additionally, you have a right to claim for Special Damages. Compensation for Special damages can be claimed to cover expenses you may have incurred while your loved one was still alive following their accident.
Compensation could be claimed for expenses that may include, but would not be limited to;
- Any loss of income or pension during that time period
- Any costs associated with medical treatment
- Any costs associated with adaptations you may need to make to your home
- Any costs for the care required for your loved one, even if a family member or friend provided this
- Any out-of-pocket expenses you may have incurred
We understand the financial impact of an accident.
In 99% of cases, we recovered more compensation than the insurer’s first offer. We’ll provide financial security with our interim payments wherever possible, meaning you don’t need to rush into an offer that is lower than you’re legally entitled to.
Can I claim for funeral costs after a fatal accident?
It is possible to claim for funeral expenses, including the cost of the memorial service, the wake, the headstone and probate under either the Law Reform Act 1934 or the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.
How long do I have to make a fatal accident claim?
The time limit for making a fatal accident compensation claim is three years from the date of the death of your loved one.
If the deceased were in the process of making a personal injury claim when they passed, the three-year time limit would restart from the date of their death.
If you are claiming after the death of a child, you have up until the date of their 21st birthday to start your claim.
Although it is an extremely difficult time after the death of a loved one, we advise getting in touch to start your claim as soon as possible.
How long does a fatal accident claim take?
There is no set amount of time for fatal accident claims to be processed. Fatal accident claims can be complex both in proving liability and accurately calculating the correct compensation level. Our experienced solicitors take the utmost care in managing these claims to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation for your loss.
Can I make a no win no fee fatal accident claim?
Our fatal injury compensation claims are provided on a no win, no fee basis.
No win no fee agreements are also known as Conditional Fee Agreements (CFA). This agreement means that there is only a fee on the condition that your claim is successful. The fee amount will be agreed upon when you enter into the agreement at the start of the claim process.
It means you are safe to pursue a compensation claim knowing that you have no financial risk if it’s unsuccessful.
Unlimited legal support.
That’s right, we provide unlimited legal support for our prospective clients. Not sure if you have a claim, or if you even want to make a claim?
You can speak with us for as long as you like and as many times as you like. We’ll let you know your legal rights, completely free of charge and with no obligation to make a claim.
What types of fatal accidents can I make a claim for?
You can make a claim for any fatal accident or wrongful death if caused by someone else’s fault or negligence. However, it is most common to see claims brought after the following types of accidents.
- Road traffic accidents – as drivers, cyclists, passengers or pedestrians, we are all vulnerable to other people’s negligence on the roads, and unfortunately, deaths on the roads are still too high
- Accidents at work – Some workplaces carry much more significant risks of injury and sometimes, unfortunately, death. Most often, this is on construction sites when inadequate training, defective machinery, electric shocks or slips and falls have resulted in fatalities
- Industrial diseases such as long-term exposure to asbestos resulting in death from asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma
- Criminal assault – a physical attack can have awful, unintended consequences
- Medical negligence – a hospital is where you should feel safe, but a failure in the duty of care of a medical professional can lead to a loss of life
Can I claim for a wrongful death caused by medical negligence?
Yes, you can make a claim if a loved one has passed due to medical negligence.
Medical professionals have a duty of care to treat their patient’s welfare as their top priority during any medical diagnosis or procedure. You have a legal right to claim compensation if this duty of care has been compromised and negligence can be proved.
What is the process for making a fatal accident compensation claim?
The first step is for you to call and tell one of our specialist fatal accident claims solicitors about what has happened.
We’ll explain how the claims process works, what compensation you may be entitled to, and how long the process might take.
We’ll then collect all of the evidence necessary to support your claim and use this as a reference to determine how much compensation you can claim. We’ll contact those responsible for your loved one’s death and look to reach a financial settlement, keeping you updated every step of the way.
It is very rare for a fatal accident claim to go to court. However, if we can’t reach an agreement that we feel is legally correct or if the opposing party won’t accept fault, we’ll start court proceedings to get the compensation you deserve.
Why you should choose Express Solicitors for your fatal accident claim
At Express Solicitors, we don’t pretend to know what you’re going through, but we absolutely know how difficult dealing with financial and legal matters can be, especially after losing a loved one.
We’ll listen carefully and sympathetically to your situation and create a clear, strong case showing your loved one was taken unnecessarily.
Money can’t bring your loved one back, but it can make navigating this next stage of your life a little easier. With our no win, no fee claim guarantee, the burden of risk is taken off your shoulders. We’ve won millions of pounds in damages for families in similar positions and are ready to help you, too.