A Guide To Making A Fatal Accident Compensation Claim
By Lewis Aaliyah. Last Updated 13th October 2023. If you have lost a loved one or a member of your family in an accident that was not their fault, you could make a fatal accident claim for compensation on their behalf. This would be on the fact you could prove that their death was caused by the negligence of a third party that owed them a duty of care.
On their behalf, you could claim for any pain and suffering they were caused. Also, any losses in finances they suffered as a result of the accident which led to their death. There are other expenses that can be claimed such as funeral expenses. And those that were financially dependant may also be awarded compensation.
While money cannot bring back a loved one who has been taken too soon, it could help you with the financial impact of losing them, and perhaps give you some sense of restitution.
If you are going to try to make a claim, then regardless of whether the claim is straightforward, or one that may be legally complicated, you could choose to use a good solicitor to represent you in your case. Get in touch with us to speak to our team of advisors. If they can see that the case has a good foundation and likely to achieve compensation they could connect you with a suitable solicitor.
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Services And Information
- Can I Make A Fatal Accident Claim On Behalf Of Someone Who Has Passed Away?
- What Happens After A Fatal Accident?
- Fatal Accident Compensation Amounts And Payouts
- What Else Can A Fatal Accident Compensation Award Cover?
- Circumstances Which Could Lead To Wrongful Deaths
- Who Could Make A Wrongful Death Or Fatal Accident Claim?
- Is There A Time Limit On Fatal Accident Claims?
- A Loved One Died In A Fatal Accident, What Should I Do?
- Fatal Accident Claims On A No Win No Fee Basis
- Contact Us
- Related Claims Guides
- FAQs On Fatal Accident Claims
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal accident, you could be eligible to make a claim on their behalf. However, when making a fatal accident claim on behalf of a loved one, you will need to prove:
- The deceased was owed a duty of care.
- This duty of care was breached.
- Due to this breach, the deceased suffered a fatal injury.
There are various instances where your loved one will have been owed a duty of care. This includes:
- On the road – Road users are expected to navigate the roads in a manner that avoids causing harm to themselves and others as part of their duty of care. Additionally, they must adhere to the rules set out for them in the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Highway Code.
- In the workplace – Employers owe their employees a duty of care under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to take reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of their employees while they are at work.
- In public places – Those in control of a public space owe a duty of care under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957. Per this duty, they must take the necessary steps to ensure the reasonable safety of members of the public who are using that space for its intended purpose.
It is important to note that only the deceased’s estate can make a claim on behalf of the deceased’s pain and suffering, as set out by the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934. Furthermore, they are the only party who can bring forward a claim for the first 6 months after the deceased’s death.
After 6 months have passed, the deceased’s dependents will be able to bring forward their own claim for how the death has affected them, if the deceased’s estate hasn’t done so already. This is set out under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.
Continue reading to find out what steps you can take to claim fatal accident compensation on behalf of someone who has passed away. Alternatively, pop up to an advisor using our free live chat service for an instant response.
When a fatal accident has occurred, there is usually a coroner’s inquest into the cause of death in order to ascertain whether or not the accident was really the cause of death. A coroner’s report can be of great assistance in making a wrongful death compensation claim.
This is especially true if the findings of the coroner’s inquest are that the victim died as a result of an accident caused by the negligence of a third party.
If you’d like to get in touch about the evidence you have, our lines are open 24/7. Our advisors are confidential, understanding and provide free legal advice. You’ll be under no obligation to proceed with our services.
Fatal injury claims can take the circumstances of a person’s death into account. An eligible claimant could be able to claim for the pain and suffering their loved one had undergone prior to their death. They could also potentially claim for their own suffering caused by the death.
There are guidelines that can show how compensation may be awarded in fatal accident claims. The Judicial College Guidelines are used by legal professionals to help value claims, and provided the figures shown below.
Injury Notes Compensation Bracket
Fatality plus claim add-ons The award may consider the compensation for the pain and suffering experienced by the deceased as well as any losses affecting the dependents. £550,000+
Tetraplegia (Quadriplegia) The award considers awareness, life expectancy and pain. £324,600 to £403,990
Paraplegia The award considers whether the deceased had any level of independence prior to their passing, their pain levels, depression, age and life expectancy as well as whether it impacts their sexual functioning. £219,070 to £284,260
Very Severe Brain Damage The deceased had little or no meaningful response to their environment and required full-time nursing care prior to their passing. £282,010 to £403,990
Severe Psychiatric Damage The injuries suffered by the deceased resulted in them struggling to cope with life and personal relationships prior to passing. £54,830 to £115,730
Severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder In these cases, the deceased couldn't function at pre-trauma level in any area of their life prior to their passing. £59,860 to £100,670
Death With Full Awareness The deceased experienced full awareness followed by fluctuating consciousness for between 4-5 weeks with death occurring within 3 months. £12,540 to £23,810
There’s more detail about other forms of compensation in the following section, but if you would like to learn more about how fatal accident compensation could be awarded and other forms of compensation for a death that a family member or partner could receive, then please reach out to one of our advisers.
For the first six months after the deceased’s death, their estate can bring forward a claim on behalf of the deceased for their pain and suffering, as stated under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934. Our table in the previous section provided a few figures for this. However, this does not represent how much a fatal accident claim could be worth and is only intended as guidance.
In addition to compensation on behalf of the deceased, certain relatives may be able to claim for the impact the death has had on them, as stated under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.
Successful fatal injury claims may include compensation that covers:
- Funeral expenses.
- Loss of service. Some examples include DIY and helping with the children.
- Dependency. This is the impact caused by the loss of the deceased’s income, such as their loss of earnings.
- Loss of consortium or loss of a special person. This covers the loss of companionship and the impact on family relationships.
About The Statutory Bereavement Award
In addition, as part of a fatal injuries claim, certain relatives may be able to claim a bereavement award as per Section 1A of the Fatal Accidents Act. This is a fixed amount of £15,120 and could compensate a husband, wife, or parent of an unmarried minor for the bereavement caused.
If you have any questions or need any help understanding how compensation could be awarded, please get in touch with an advisor from our team.
Some of the circumstances in which a person suffers a fatal accident could give their relatives or loved ones the right to make a wrongful death claim. They include:
Road traffic accidents
Road users have a responsibility to protect the safety of others on the road by proceeding with the standard level of care and skill. (Details are provided in The Highway Code.) If your loved one suffered a fatal accident that wasn’t their fault, you could seek compensation on their behalf.
Such accidents could include those where the victim was a pedestrian or cyclist. They may have been driving and being fatally injured in a collision caused by another vehicle. A fault in the road may have even caused the accident. If so, you could claim.
For more advice on making a claim for a fatal car accident, you can read our separate guide which we have available.
Workplace fatal accidents
These can be accidents or incidents where the employer might be liable including:
- Industrial accidents where the victim is killed by faulty equipment that the employer has been made aware of but hasn’t fixed.
- Illnesses caused by exposure to reasonably preventable workplace hazards, such as asbestosis.
Employers have a duty to protect the wellbeing of their employees under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
Accidents in public places
Those in control of public land, property or premises have an obligation to take reasonable steps to protect visitors’ health and safety. This is outlined in the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957.
If the controller hasn’t taken reasonable measures to prevent accidents, they could be liable. Fatal accidents that aren’t the fault of the victim could happen in:
- Indoor spaces such as gyms or swimming centres
- Stadiums, nightclubs, or music venues
- Pubs or restaurants
- Shops or retail centres
Medical negligence cases
Medical professionals should provide adequate care to patients. Substandard care that results in fatal injuries or a worsened condition, leading to death, could be deemed medical negligence. If the professional has been given all the appropriate information to make a correct diagnosis, for example, but fails to do so through negligence, they could be liable.
Other instances (so long as other professionals in the same situation would’ve been able to avoid them) include:
- Errors during surgery leading to death.
- Incorrect prescriptions leading to death, such as overdoses or incorrect drugs being prescribed.
- Neglect in hospitals or care homes leading to death.
In the case of a fatal accident caused by negligence, the victim’s loved ones or close relatives could be entitled to seek compensation on their behalf.
Those who were named as the executors of the estate in the deceased’s will could be entitled to make a compensation claim on behalf of a deceased loved one.
If there wasn’t a will, then the nearest relative under section 46 of the Administration of Estates Act 1925 could claim. (This could be, for example, spouses, parents, children or siblings.)
If you’d like to know if you could claim, call our advisors on the number at the top of the page.
There are time limits to making a compensation claim that you have to take into consideration. This time limit is generally three years. And, in the case of a fatal accident, a lot of evidence may need to be gathered before the claim can be submitted.
We recommend that you seek out legal advice and set a claim in motion as soon as you feel ready after a fatal accident occurs. This is in order to ensure that your claim has all the evidence that it needed to succeed. Also so that it is filed before it becomes statued barred.
The time limit for fatal accident claims starts from the day the deceased passed away. So the three years would begin from the date the deceased died. Get in touch for free legal advice on time limits from our advisors. You’ll be under no obligation to proceed with our services.
If you have lost a loved one to a fatal accident then there a few courses of action that you could take in order to better prepare for making a wrongful death claim. Some of these steps include:
- Apply for access to their medical records. Even though a medical intervention may not have been enough to save a loved one’s life, the record it establishes of your loved ones injuries could act as proof.
- Collect evidence relating to the accident. If at all possible, try to collect photographs, CCTV or dashcam footage of the scene or cause of the accident.
- Ask witnesses to the accident to provide their contact details so that they can be asked to provide statements to support the claim.
- If you were present, write down your own recollections of the accident as soon as you can. This could ensure that there is a record of the incident from when it was fresh in your memory.
- Ask to see the accident book if the event occurred in certain premises or in a workplace. This way, you could ensure that there is a record of the accident occurring.
Our team can provide you with free legal advice about whether or not you could be entitled to make a claim.
If you are making a compensation claim following the death of a loved one, you will obviously not wish to add any additional pressure on top of what you are already going through. You may also be concerned about solicitor fees if you want to use a solicitor to represent your case. That’s why you may wish to find an alternative to paying your solicitor through upfront solicitor legal fees.
You may look to use a solicitor’s services through a No Win No Fee agreement. This is an arrangement made between you and your solicitor.
The agreement should state the following:
- You won’t have to pay the solicitor’s fee before the claim process begins.
- You won’t have to pay their fee if the case loses.
- Your solicitor would be entitled to receive a portion of the compensation payout only if the claim is successful. You can discuss this fee with your solicitor before you sign anything. And, the fee is legally capped.
Additionally, it is often a good sign if your solicitor wants to agree to a No Win No Fee claim. That’s because it indicates that they are confident in the claim’s chances of success.
If you wish to get in touch with our team, then you can:
- Accident at work compensation claims
- Accident on holiday compensation claims
- Car accident compensation claims
- Website Of The Health And Safety Executive
- Bereavement benefits guidance
- Criminal Injuries Compensation Calculator
- Time Limits For Fatal Accident Claims
What is the statutory bereavement award?
The statutory bereavement award is an amount of financial compensation. It could be awarded if a loved one dies in an accident that wasn’t their fault. Get in touch to find out if you could be entitled to statutory bereavement damages.
Who are bereavement compensation damages given to?
Compensation could be awarded to certain relatives of someone who has suffered a fatal accident. It is given to compensate them for their personal loss.
Who could claim the Statutory Bereavement Award?
Certain relatives of the deceased could be entitled to claim a statutory bereavement award. This includes parents, spouses, and people who have been cohabiting for a period of more than two years.
Thank you for reading our guide on how to make a fatal accident claim.