Fatal Accident Claims Guide

The legal issues surrounding fatal accident claims can be complex and demanding. As specialist solicitors in this law topic, we appreciate that no compensation can replace the untimely death of a loved one.

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Fatal Accident Claims

The death of a loved one through a fatal accident can lead to total devastation. Injury compensation, bereavement awards and dependency claims are all secondary but important considerations. Every unlawful accident is a personal tragedy and we ensure that each case will be treated sympathetically.

Dependency claims are a common factor for the immediate family left behind as well as compensation for the death and hurt caused. This type of claim is awarded to someone who may have relied on the deceased before their death.

A bereavement award requires set criteria to be met and is based on the claimant's relationship to the deceased. A one-off payment is awarded no matter the specific situation of the fatal accident, the amount of which was last raised to £15,120 in May 2020. The criteria has recently been updated to allow cohabitees to be entitled to the award as long as they lived with the deceased two years before their death. A new legislation called Jack's Law is set to come into force to provide parents with bereavement leave following the death of a child.

We understand that not everyone is in search for compensation following a fatal accident. The truth is more important. Over a period of time help is often required if the deceased’s family are met with denials, shifting blame or an unsympathetic attitude. As specialist solicitors we will listen to you and your family in order to take the action you require.

“The law does not always lead to justice but we will ensure that we will use our skill and experience to achieve the best result possible for the family and dependents.” - Mr. Ronnie Hutcheon

When it comes to fatal accident claims our judgement and philosophy is to always act in the best interests of the family and dependents. We encourage you to call even if it is something you may think is trivial.

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Fatal Accident Act 1976

The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 provides for a fatal accident compensation award on behalf of the “dependents” of the deceased. The dependents are usually the spouse, partner or children of the deceased. We understand that compensation following an unexpected loss of life is often a secondary thought, but making a claim helps maintain financial stability and relieve the financial worry and stress that comes with losing a spouse or partner. Often a claim out of financial necessity as well as getting to the truth of what happened following a sudden death tends to be the dominant factors when family dependents instruct solicitors.

Its not all about receiving compensation for a fatal accident. Our specialist team of solicitors help families achieve a sense of justice by taking action against the defendant to prove fault as well as to legally represent the family at the inquest in order to help investigate the cause of death. Very often the defendants will deny responsibility or the cause of death is not always clear, which is why expert legal advice from qualified lawyers is required to achieve justice and to claim the maximum amount of compensation.

Questions About Fatal Accident Claims

At Fatal Accident Claims, we know that this area of law can be confusing and overwhelming, especially for people who have Limited knowledge on the topic. On top of this, the loss of a loved one may mean that you already feel stressed and disoriented about the next steps. As specialist fatal accident solicitors, we are committed to helping you in any way we can, including providing useful information and advice to further your understanding and make you feel at ease.

We have collated some answers to a selection of some of the most frequent questions about fatal accident claims. If you have a question that isn't covered here, please don't hesitate to contact us today and we'll do our best to advise you with the answer.

A fatal accident claim is a type of compensation claim that is made under the Fatal Accident Act 1976. A claim can occur when someone has tragically and unexpectedly lost their life due to the unlawful or negligent actions of another person. The claim is intended to provide a claimant with compensation damages that will help ease their financial burden following a loss.

The Fatal Accident Act 1976 is a piece of legislation in the UK that modernised the law and how it correlates to bereavement damages for relatives. In summary, the legislation ‘allows relatives of people killed by the wrongdoing of others to recover damages’. It states that if someone’s wrongful or negligent actions caused the death of another person, then the relatives are entitled to bereavement damages. Compensation claims that fall under this legalisation include dependency claims, bereavement claims and funeral expenses.

To be eligible for a fatal accident claim, first of all, there must be evidence that shows the loss of life was caused by a third party due to their unlawful or negligent actions. Relatives of the deceased may be eligible for a claim. This can include spouses, cohabitees, children, parents, siblings, and so on. Typically, if you were close to the deceased and suffered greatly as a result of the loss, particularly financially, then you may be able to make a claim.

There are several types of fatal compensation claims that you can make. You can make a claim for a bereavement award which provides the statutory amount of £15,120 in damages for eligible claimants. You can also make a dependency claim which awards damages to close relatives who, following the death, have been deprived of the deceased’s support and services. Other damages that you can pursue include funeral expenses, medical care, loss of earnings, and compensation for pain and suffering.

Usually, there is a time limit of three years for making a fatal accident claim. This period, which is called the limitation period, either begins from the date of death or the date when the fatal accident occurred. There may be certain exceptions to this timeframe, such as for disease and medical negligence cases, accidents abroad, and criminal assaults and criminal injury claims.

One of the very first steps that you should take is to appoint a specialist firm to manage your case. When looking for the right solicitor, points to consider include their experience in similar cases, their personable and co-operative approach, and how their fees work. During the early stages of a claim, the solicitor will work closely with you to gather the facts so that they can provide advice on the options available. If an inquest is held by a coroner, the solicitors will be able to attend and represent you. If the claim goes to court, they will be able to present evidence, such as photographs and witness statements. A claim will be won when the solicitors have successfully argued that a third party was liable for the death and that the claimant’s life was significantly impacted as a result.

Yes, we can represent you at an inquest. Inquest hearings are a significant part of the fatal accident claims process. It is here where the cause of the death, as opposed to liability, is established. While you do not need to have a solicitor at the inquest, we highly recommend that you consult one beforehand. If your solicitor is able to attend the inquest, this will provide them with first-hand insight into any evidence that is being presented and they can then use this to assess the strength of any subsequent action when moving forward with a claim.

The amount of compensation damages you will receive following a successful claim will be calculated based on several factors, and this can also include the type of compensation claim that you make. The court will carefully consider how the death has had an impact on your life, both in terms of how it has affected you financially and how it has affected your day-to-day function. It can take into account pain and suffering, loss of amenity, loss of earnings and services, and losses for dependency. The cost of funeral expenses and medical fees may also affect how much you are awarded.

While making a fatal accident claim may help you very slightly ease the emotional pain that you have suffered, we recognise that this isn’t the core reason for claiming and isn’t going to bring your loved one back. However, unexpected deaths can cause financial distress during what is already a challenging time. A fatal accident claim is most effective when it eases the financial burden on yourself and your family. It allows you to recover damages incurred as a result of the death, such as medical costs and funeral expenses, and claim back any loss in dependency.

We are No Win No Fee solicitors which means that we will only charge you should your claim be successful. With us, you can keep 100% of the compensation that you receive. We promise that we will not ask you to pay any upfront charges, to sign any credit agreements, or to pay any hidden costs.