Bereavement Award in Fatal Accident Compensation Claims
A bereavement award under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 is made following the death of a person involved in an accident or illness due to the fault, in whole, or in part, by another. A bereavement award may be in addition to other claims the “next of kin” may claim. Fatal accident compensation for a bereavement award is an amount of compensation simply to serve as a recognition of grief and a financial token or public recognition that the death was wrongful.
However the bereavement award, in our respectful view is pitiful. The Government has assessed the award over the years for the loss of a close family member, wife, husband, son, daughter in the current sum of £12,980.
We all appreciate that no amount of money can compensate for the loss, but the Government appears to suggest (or an excuse due to the pressure from insurance companies) that the death of a loved one is only worth a “token amount.” That is simply not right, it’s unjust and insurance companies are getting away in not paying a “fair” amount for the recognition that the death of a close family member was unlawful.
A Bereavement Award in Scotland is Different
In Scotland there is no maximum limit set for a bereavement compensation claim as the merits for each death are considered on a case by case basis. Some case examples:
2004 Loss of Husband aged: 75, £32,500 (If England & Wales, now £12,980)
2005 Loss of Husband aged: 34, £48,500 (If England & Wales, now £12,980)
2010 Parent Loss of Child: (21), £90,000 (£00.00 – nothing in England & Wales)
2011 Parent Loss of Child: (28), £100,000 (£00.00 – nothing in England & Wales)
Who Can Claim a Bereavement Award following a Fatal Accident Compensation claim?
Notwithstanding the insulting amount of the bereavement award, the Law also provides unnecessary restrictions on who can claim the bereavement compensation award:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving civil partner
- Parents (if the child was under 18)
More examples of an un-just law
Where the death relates to:
- Death of an illegitimate child (under 18 years) the mother is given the bereavement award. Father gets nothing. But as the law stands, even if the father was entitled to a bereavement award, both parents will have to share the award, so they would receive £6,490 each for the pain, grief and suffering. Somehow the compensation will mean, to reflect society perhaps, the parents shared suffering means they share the award? There is no logical conclusion other than penny pinching.
- If an adult child, 18 years plus was killed in a road accident, the parents will receive nothing. Yet if the child was 17 years and 364 days old at the time of the accident, the parents would receive the full bereavement compensation. But that, as we have said before is still an insult and the parents will have to share it.
- Death of a parent. For some unknown reason, may be it is from the Victorian era or due to the number of children that could be bereaved, a child receives absolutely nothing for the death of her/his mother or father. May be the law makers at the time thought that if both parents died in a fatal road accident (it is not as uncommon as you think) it would mean the children would be over-compensated because the insurance company for the person at fault, will have to pay two bereavement awards. Therefore, for whatever reason a child losing his/her parent(s) gets absolutely nothing. It is not right.
- Child sustained fatal injuries whilst under 18 but dies when over 18 years – can you beleive it, no bereavement award is payable thanks to the case of Dolema v Deakin (1990).
Compensation for Bereavement Awards – Since 1991
Historical Figures following Fatal Accident Compensation Claim are as follows:
- £3,500 to £7,500 after 1 April 1991
- 1 April 2002 £10,000.
- £11,200 for deaths on or after 01.01.08.
- £11,800 01.01.12
- £12,980 for fatal injury claims after 01.04.13
Interest can also be claimed in respect of a fatal accident case on the award running from the date of death.
Bereavement Compensation Increase in 2013
In 2013, this year deserves a brief mention as an increase in the bereavement awarded for deaths following a fatal accident claim on or after the 1st April 2013 has been increased by 10% from £11,800 to £12,980. This was not a as result of the kindness of the Government or Insurance Companies, it was due to the “Jackson Law Reforms” which introduced new cost cutting laws that could be construed to curtail the incorrectly perceived “compensation culture.”
The increase in the bereavement award compensation due to the death of a loved one out of an accident was due the fact that the Jackson reforms made wholesale changes to the fees solicitor can charge the Defendant insurance companies if they win the case. In short, the Jackson reforms took advice from large insurance companies and decided that to compensate solicitors for the drastic cost cutting, they would make the injured victim (or their family) make up some of the shortfall. By this the Conservative Government has now allowed Solicitors to take up to 25% (called a success fee) from the Deceased’s compensation (or injured party) compensation.
Taking money from the Deceased’s Compensation by Solicitors is Wrong
As fatal accident compensation solicitors we feel this is unjust to take up to 25% of the compensation for grieving families. However whilst we do not like to charge any success fee, due to significant increases in court fees and drastic legal cost cutting we are forced to make a charge which currently stands at 12.5% (half what most other solicitors will charge). Of course we offer a No Win No Fee Solicitor service so the family are fully protected. Thus it can be costly to go to another firm of solicitors.
Fatal Accident Compenstion Claim and Bereavement Awards
Please feel free to contact our specials fatal accident solicitors for guidance and advice. We will be pleased to help you even if it is just a query rather than making a fatal accident claim.
Our details are on our website: Fatal Accident Solicitors Contact Us page:
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Bereavement Award & Fatal Accident Compensation Claims
Stop the injustice and sign up to our E-Petition to increase the token bereavement award following the wrongful death of a loved one. One of the richest countries in the World, the UK (or specifically England & Wales) makes the loss of a life following a tragic fatal accident worthless or close to it. It is not right.
For more information to help us change the law & history please support us. For more information please click here E-Petition
To go to the Government Website to sign our bereavement award petition, click here Government Bereavement Award E-Petition