Can You Claim if the Deceased Was Partly at Fault for Their Death?

Losing a loved one is a profoundly distressing experience, and the pain can be further compounded when their death results from someone else’s negligence or recklessness. Apart from the emotional trauma, the deceased’s family may also face significant financial consequences due to their loss. In such situations, it is entirely reasonable for the affected party to seek compensation to ensure financial stability and gain a sense of justice.

What is a fatal accident claim?

A fatal accident claim is a formal complaint made by the family of a person who has died due to someone else’s carelessness, irresponsibility or wrongful act. These lawsuits are usually filed in cases of car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents or accidents in public places.

The purpose of a fatal accident claim is to provide financial support to the relatives or dependents of the deceased person, who may have lost a source of income or incurred significant expenses as a result of their loved one’s death.

The compensation covers various costs such as funeral expenses, loss of revenue and future earnings, and other expenses incurred due to the sudden passing of a loved one.

Making a fatal accident claim in the UK can be a complex process. It’s vital to seek the advice of an experienced solicitor who can guide you and help you understand your rights and options. The amount of restitution depends on the case’s specific circumstances.

What happens if the deceased is partly at fault?

In some cases, there is a complicating factor to consider – the deceased’s partial fault for their death. This is known as contributory negligence. It means that the person who died played a role in the accident, either through their actions or failure to act. For example, if a pedestrian crosses the road without looking both ways and is hit by a vehicle, they may be found to have compounded their fate by failing to take reasonable precautions.

When contributing negligence is present, the compensation amount will be reduced to reflect the deceased’s share of culpability. It means that damages will be reduced by half if the deceased is found to be 50% responsible.

It’s imperative to note that the amount of contributory negligence is determined on a case-by-case basis and will depend on the situation’s exact circumstances. For example, if the deceased was found to be only slightly at fault, the reduction in a settlement may be relatively small. On the other hand, if the departed was found to be significantly responsible, the deduction may be much more substantial.

It’s also worth noting that there are some situations where a compensation claim may not be possible, even if the deceased was only partly responsible for their death. For instance, if the dead were engaged in criminal activity at the time of their murder or were killed while attempting to harm someone else.

From evidence to verdict: A breakdown of the legal process

When determining culpability for a fatal accident, a vast array of evidence is considered, including but not limited to CCTV footage, medical records, witness statements, police reports and the coroner’s findings. As every case is unique, identifying who is at fault is not always straightforward, and it’s not uncommon for multiple parties to share varying degrees of accountability for the incident.

During the claims process, all those involved will present their arguments, and an agreement will be reached on the proportion of responsibility each party bears. Sometimes, it may be necessary to consult a judge to make a final determination on allocating accountability. This process can be intricate, and it is advisable to enlist the services of a legal expert who can guide you through the proceedings.

What are the options for making a fatal accident claim?

There are several options for making a fatal accident claim, including the bereavement award, dependency claims, funeral and medical expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering.

  • Bereavement award: This is a statutory amount awarded to eligible people following a fatal accident. The award is currently set at £15,120 in England and Wales and is intended to compensate for the grief and sorrow caused by losing a loved one.
  • Dependency claims: If the person who died was the primary breadwinner for their family, dependents might be eligible for compensation due to the loss of financial support and services. It includes, for instance, childcare or household maintenance that the deceased would have provided.
  • Funeral and medical expenses: The cost of burial, cremation and any medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident may be recoverable.
  • Loss of income: If the deceased was the primary earner in their household, the dependents might be able to claim a loss of income. It can include past and future earnings and any benefits the deceased would have been entitled to.
  • Pain and suffering: Although putting a value on emotional despair can be challenging, obtaining payment for the trauma and distress is possible.

It can be difficult to manoeuvre the process of making a fatal accident claim. It adds even more stress to a family already dealing with grief. Seeking the advice of a legal professional with experience in handling these cases ensures that your rights are protected and that you secure the compensation you deserve.

Contact our experts today to get personalised advice and support.

Posted: April 21, 2023 at 3:59 pm