There is nothing so emotive than to lose a loved one due to a criminal act such as murder. The devastation can only be imagined by those not affected. Even, perhaps more hurtful is if the murder is by a family member, husband or wife for instance or the murder of a child.
The unthinkable regrettably does happen but what can the family victims left behind do? This short blog looks at the compensation elements to help family members left behind cope with the financial pressures of losing a relative.
The CICA is set up by the Government to help victims of crime by making a compensation award to certain family members who have been affected by the death of a loved one.
The compensation award is similar in certain respect to a normal claim for fatal accident compensation claims in the civil courts. The CICA have a tariff of compensation awards which includes claims for murder and thus a bereavement award and dependency claim can be make.
Nobody is ever suggesting that a lump sum compensation award for a fatal injury claim on a charge for murder or manslaughter can in anyway replace the loss of a relative. But compensation for a murdered relative may help those family members left behind, particularly if there are young children or the bread winner has lost his or her life due to a crime.
The compensation may help towards child care, education and protect their future. Family members who are struggling to make ends meet will find it easier to cope with the every day life and bills that keep on coming in. The loss of a loved one due to a crime, criminal act does not stop bills.
Affected family members even if they were working at the time, may not be able to come with returning to work for a long period of time or at all. Again this can result in loss of income or if children have to be looked after, the working parent may not be able to return.
Whatever the circumstances, compensation for the murder of a relative due to a crime may be payable even if the perpetrator is known to the victim.
In our mind the punishment for causing death by dangerous driving are totally inadequate. The maximum punishment is 14 years in prison. Most serve less than 5 years.
If the punishment against the driver is not sufficient, bereaved families are further met with an insulting legal system where compensation is of limited or no use especially when it comes to losing children.
Yes compensation is not everything, it will never be enough for a loss of a loved one but the compensation for a fatal accident claim for causing death by dangerous driving can help with financial pressures following the death of a loved one. Often even if it is not the bread-winner who has died, some bereaved family members cannot go back to work for a long time. The bills don’t stop coming in. They need to be paid from somewhere.
If you have been affected please contact us for sympathetic expert legal advice.
It is unfortunate that there are many senseless deaths and fatal car accidents on UK road due to the criminal acts of others. Usually young teenage or adult males.
Motor vehicles can easily be turned into weapons and cause carnage. Young males still steel vehicles for ‘joy riding’ or used in the course of a criminal offence such as a get-away car at the scene of a crime.
Whatever the use, there is with regret victims who are present at the wrong place and time who ultimately and needlessly lose their life or suffer from serious injuries or life-changing injuries and are in the need of fatal accident compensation to help them recover and relieve the financial stress and burden of not having to work again.
Help is Available to Victims of Fatal Road Accidents
Those bereaved families who have lost a loved on due to crime or criminal activity can seek independent specialist advice from solicitors dedicated to help victims.
Notwithstanding the criminal often have no assets or money or insurance cover to sue for compensation, a claim can be made for criminal injuries compensation for the death of a loved one. The scheme is designed to help bereaved families to claim compensation for a fatal accident claim where the death was caused due to a criminal activiity.
Causing death by dangerous driving provides a life sentence to the love ones left behind. But what about the person who has caused such heart ache? How does the legal Justice System treat him or her?
The sad answer, says Ronnie Hutcheon specialist in fatal road traffic accident claims, is that:
“the offender is treated with leniency, kid gloves. The statistics don’t lie, two out of five motorists who are convicted of death by dangerous driving are not jailed, the average prison sentence is just 4 years back in 2014. Causing death by dangerous driving carries a maximum sentence of 14 years but the average is just less than 6 years.”
Compensation for Death by Dangerous Driving – Unfair
Most offenders will get legal aid and defend the charge. Then in the fatal accident compensation claim, the deceased family will then be faced with fighting the fatal accident compensation claim by large insurance companies with big pockets to spend on solicitors. The family even if the win the case, due to the Conservative legal cut backs, may lose up to 25% of the compensation the family receive to their own solicitors who acted on their behalf. It is totally unjust.
Crackdown of Sentences for Causing Death by Dangerous Driving
However there is some movement by the Government to a least look into the leniency of sentencing handed down by the Criminal Courts for causing death by dangerous driving. The Ministry of Justice consultation will be launched by the end of 2016. It is mooted that causing death by dangerous driving will carry a minimum jail sentence of 1 year and that the distinction between death by careless driving and death by dangerous driving should be abolished and judges should be given the discretion to sentence the offender up to 14 years in jail.
Time will tell if these proposed stronger punishments will materialise in the months and years to come. But something has to be done to deter dangerous driving on UK roads.
Where a fatal road accident occurs the consequences for those left behind are devastating. But what happens if as a result of the death that caused the fatal injury, the deceased was involved in a criminal activity by himself or with another, for instance on a ‘joint enterprise?’
An example of a criminal activity but be breaking into a car to steal it or driving a car with an intention to seriously injure or kill somebody. This can be done by himself or with others. The general rule is that if someone has committed a criminal offence, current or a past criminal offence, those charges can be taken into account to stop any compensation or reduce the amount of compensation for a fatal accident claim.
Examples of Criminal Joint Enterprise
In one case where there were two persons involved in a criminal joint enterprise, one a driver and the other a passenger, the driving drove his car negligently and injured a pedestrian. The Court had found them both responsible for the accident.
The same principle will apply where the passenger encouraged the driver to drive in a dangerous or careless way, if a fatal car accident happens then the passenger and the driver can be held both liable for the death of another.
How Much Compensation Can Be Deducted if There is Criminal Liability
This is dependent upon the facts. Certainly if the person who caused the fatal accident and died himself by dangerous driving, it will follow that his ‘dependents’ will not be able to claim as his estate and his dependents cannot claim against himself as he was at fault.
If he was killed whilst racing another vehicle in a dangerous manner, it again will follow that his estate and his dependents may not bring a claim due his criminal activity.
If he the driver was innocent in the accident but had criminal convictions in the past, his compensation could be reduced or stopped. The amount that can be deducted will be dependent upon the seriousness of the criminal convictions. The ore severe the greater the deduction.
Help and Assistance
Contact the fatal accident claims please contact our experienced solicitor who will help you every step of the way.
If a close family member has died as a result of a violent death a claim for a Bereavement award and other compensation payments may be made.
The compensation is not paid by the person who caused the Crime but under a Government Scheme which has been set up to compensate victims of violence. This is known as Criminal Injuries Compensation where payments can be made for injuries other than death. Thus from relatively minor personal injuries to life changing injuries including fatalities compensation can be made.
Who Can Claim Criminal Injuries Compensation for Bereavement?
Under the scheme you must be a ‘qualifying member’ of the family to claim for criminal injuries for the violent death of a loved one. In lay person’s terms this us usually the ‘next of kin’ of the person who has died. However a former spouse may be able to claim under certain conditions and the scheme has been changed to included Civil Partnerships Act. So generally it can be the following members of the deceased, subject to conditions
Bereavement Award and Criminal Injuries Compensation
A close family member can claim compensation on behalf of a loved one if they die as a result of their injuries due to a a violent crime. Here if the perpetrator is caught they will be charged with murder or manslaughter.
Criminal Injuries Compensation for a bereavement award can be made providing that the family members who are entitled to claim of sufficiently a close relative to claim similar to the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.
As a qualifying relative under s 59 of the Scheme is designed to ensure only close members can claim.
There is no age limit for a ‘child’ so children of the deceased can claim even though they are over 18 years of age and a child who is born after the tragic event.
A token award of compensation will be payable to the children of the deceased for the loss of a parent’s love and affection and care and supervision etc providing that the child was receiving such parental care at the time of death and that the child or children were under the age of 18 years at the time of loss.
The child’s payment is £2,000 for each full year, proportionally reduced for part years. There may be additional payments for expenses incurred by the child as a direct result of the loss. Compensation may be retained until the child or children are 18 years of age but they may receive advanced payments for their education and welfare.
A former spouse may claim for Criminal Injuries Compensation can be awarded if they were financially dependent upon the deceased at the time of death but they are unable to claim for a bereavement award.
Similarly if you are a former Civil Partner registered under the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and were financially dependent upon the deceased a dependency payment can be made but no compensation for a bereavement award.
Qualifying Relatives & Bereavement Award
A claim for Criminal Injuries Compensation for a bereavement award can be made if you are not divorced or estranged from the deceased at the time of death.
Who Cannot Claim for Criminal Injuries Compensation?
If you are not a ‘qualifying person’ of the deceased and:
a person who was responsible for the death of the deceased and
a reduction of compensation or that the criminal injuries compensation may be withheld if by the Claimant’s conduct or that of the deceased may have led to or contributed to the death/fatal injury. In addition if there is a history of criminal convictions, these may also be taken into account to reduce any award.
Financial Dependency Claim
A dependency award for Criminal Injuries Compensation is in addition to any bereavement award. Generally speaking the ‘dependent’ family member must have been financially or physically dependent upon the deceased at the time of death in order to obtain an award of compensation. The conditions of dependency to claim must satisfy the conditions of s 43 of the Criminal Injuries Scheme. No claim is normally made for financial dependency if the deceased was solely reliant upon Government benefits as their main income which differs somewhat than if a claim was being made under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. If the deceased was not working a family member who qualifies under the Scheme may still be able to claim for a dependency award for the death of a husband or wife for instance, if they can show that they wre in full-time education or was a carer for instance.
The Calculation for a dependency compensation for Criminal Injuries will be for the period of the dependency at the weekly rate of statutory sick pay, if there are multiple relatives who qualify for a dependency award, it will be shared equally.
Caring Dependency Claim
If the deceased was the Claimant’s main carer for physical needs such as:
generally looking after you and keeping a watchful eye for your well being
The relevant family member can claim for a CICA dependency award in the same manner as a financial dependency award.
Fatal Injury Claims & Funeral Expenses
These are currently limited to £2,500 for an immediate payment if the family qualify and a further payment of £2,500 as a ‘flat rate’. Most basic funeral costs will be covered but an additional payment may be made for expenses.
Making a Claim for Criminal Injuries Bereavement Award
Making a claim is simple with the fatal accident claim solicitors. We shall deal with all of the paperwork and gather the evidence you need to take the stress and strain from from you and your family. We work under a No Win, No Fee Solicitor service so you have no financial worries in instructing specialist solicitors.
Death by Dangerous Driving Compensation Guide 2020
Causing death by dangerous driving is one thing bereaved families have to consider when they are faced with an untimely and sudden loss of a loved one following a tragic road accident. As specialist fatal accident claims solicitors, we will help bereaved families claim back compensation against the driver’s insurance company (if there is one), if not through the Motor Insurer’s Bureau or an order by a Judge in Court.
A driver or cyclist charged with the offence will be liable for a civil claim for compensation and criminal charges by the police that can lead to imprisonment.
This guide updated for 2020 will include information on the legal definition of causing death by dangerous driving, some examples of the offence and which family members can claim compensation following the death of a loved one. It can be quite complex so if you are in need of any assistance please feel free to call us or why not engaged our live chat facility if we are online.
When the death is due to a deliberate or reckless disregard to life, it is hard to take. Specialist fatal accident solicitors here to help bereaved families and offer FREE SUPPORT and legal advice. We will obtain for the family maximum compensation for road deaths in the UK.
If the other driver has been charged with another offence by the police and you with to claim for compensation for causing death by careless driving please click on that link for further information.
Definition of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving
To understand the law you need to know the definition which the lawyers and the courts will use to see if the driver or cyclist in question can be convicted for the criminal offence.
Section 1 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (as substituted by the Road Traffic Act 1991) provides:
A person who causes the death of another person by driving a mechanically propelled vehicle dangerously on a road or other public place is guilty of an offence.
On the Crown Prosecution Service website it provides some useful information of what can constitute a claim for compensation for causing death by dangerous driving under section 1 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988).
‘When the suspect’s driving is a cause or factor in the death of another person and the driving was dangerous.’
By “dangerous” we mean within the meaning of section 2A of the RTA 1988, i.e.
‘the standard of driving falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver and it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous.’
The criminal sanction is 14 years’ imprisonment, by virtue of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, and/or an unlimited fine.
Examples that will be considered by a Judge at court when a driver is faced with a criminal charge:
The criminal driver must have played a part not simply in creating the occasion for the fatal accident, i.e. causation in the “but for” sense, but in bringing it about;
The degree of contribution to the criminal activity is beyond a negligible;
If the criminal driving is too remote from the later event to have caused the death, the Judge may dismiss the claim.
Three Common Offences of Causing Death while Driving
As fatal accident solicitors we are often asked what is the difference between the driver being charged with death by careless driving and death by dangerous driving.
The main difference it that ‘careless driving’ of a driving standard below that of a ‘prudent motorist’ with no obligation for the CPS to establish any actual or risk of injury giving rise to death.
But for a charge, the standard has be be ‘far below’ and that there is an obvious risk that by the driver’s actions, there is a risk that personal injury or death may result by his or her actions.
Causing Death by Careless driving or Inconsiderate Driving:(Section 2B of the Road Traffic Act 1988, amended by the Road Safety Act 2006, s. 20).
Examples of Careless Driving:
• Driving too close to another vehicle.
• Driving through a red light by mistake.
• Overtaking on the inside.
• Turning in to path of another vehicle.
• Being avoidably distracted by the radio, cigarette etc.
Source: Crown Prosecution Service Fact Sheet
2. Causing Death by Dangerous Driving: (Section 1 of the Road Traffic Act 1988).
Examples of Dangerous Driving:
• Racing / Going too fast / driving too aggressively.
• Ignoring traffic lights.
• Overtaking dangerously.
• Driving when knowing there is a serious fault with the vehicle.
• Being dangerously distracted by a map / phone / radio etc.
Source: Crown Prosecution Service Fact Sheet:
3. Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs: (Section 3A Road Traffic Act (RTA) 1988).
Examples of death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs:
Excessive alcohol consumption,
Excessive prescription drug consumption,
Illegal drug consumption,
Mixture of drugs and alcohol consumption,
Road Accident Deaths and Mobile Phones
Possible actions that you can be charged for by using a mobile phone behind the wheel where you can be convicted for a serious criminal offence. With the advent of using mobile phones behind the wheel there are increasing number of charges brought against drivers for serious offences for dangerous driving and careless driving. In fact, for many driving offences, the one of the first things the police will check a driver’s mobile phone.
For the purposes of this website, there is no need to go into detail about what constitutes “dangerous driving” as it is very much dependent upon individual facts and moreover a common sense. Some guidance can be obtained from the Crown Protection Service, see more below on this page.
If a driver is charged and or convicted with causing death by dangerous driving it also has a further consequence and where a claim for compensation for a fatal car accident claim can be made by the bereaved family who have lost a loved one by the accident. The compensation claim is called a ‘Civil Claim‘ (this does not involved the police or the Crown Prosecution Service.)
In a Civil Claim for compensation, specialist fatal accident claims solicitors like us will represent the bereaved family (usually the next of kin) to make a compensation claim against the driver or specifically his or her vehicle insurance company.
For compensation claims the legal system will commence in the following courts (most cases will be heard in the County Court). If a party wishes to appeal any decision of a judge in the county court the appellant may appeal to the higher courts set out below.
The general distinction between the two Statute Laws are that the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 are used by the dependents of the deceased, that is, in laypersons’ terms, the ‘next of kin’ usually the widow or widower, the survivor in a civil partnership or other ‘dependents of the deceased which can include children and a wider network of family members.
But a dependent of the deceased may also be an unmarried partner who was living with deceased for at least two years prior to death or a child of the deceased. The list of dependents can be wide see further below on who can be a dependent.
Who Can be a Dependent of the Deceased?
The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 provides a list of dependents who can claim compensation for a fatal accident:
(a) the wife or husband or former wife or husband of the deceased;
(aa)the civil partner or former civil partner of the deceased;]
(b)any person who—
(i) was living with the deceased in the same household immediately before the date of the death; and
(ii) had been living with the deceased in the same household for at least two years before that date; and
(iii) was living during the whole of that period as the husband or wife or civil partner of the deceased;
(c) any parent or other ascendant of the deceased;
(d) any person who was treated by the deceased as his parent;
(e) any child or other descendant of the deceased;
(f) any person (not being a child of the deceased) who, in the case of any marriage to which the deceased was at any time a party, was treated by the deceased as a child of the family in relation to that marriage;
(fa) any person (not being a child of the deceased) who, in the case of any civil partnership in which the deceased was at any time a civil partner, was treated by the deceased as a child of the family in relation to that civil partnership;]
(g) any person who is, or is the issue of, a brother, sister, uncle or aunt of the deceased.
(4) The reference to the former wife or husband of the deceased in subsection (3)(a) above includes a reference to a person whose marriage to the deceased has been annulled or declared void as well as a person whose marriage to the deceased has been dissolved.
The dependency claim under the 1976 Act will be for a:
Loss of income
Loss of services.
The bereavement award is what the law values the life of the deceased if killed instantly in a road traffic fatality, the current amount is a pitiful £12,980. But this award is limited to only a particular class of close family members. For more information on please see here claiming a bereavement award.
A dependent will usually claim compensation for financial support that was provided pre-death by the deceased. It may also include non-financial support such as caring for a surviving partner who was ill or for child-minding. The compensation for a dependent can be significant especially if the deceased was working and the bereaved family were very much dependent upon the deceased’s income prior to death.
What if the Driver Has No Motor Insurance?
This often happens especially where the driver is young and drives the vehicle without the owner’s consent or permission. Another example is where the driver steals the vehicle.
The law relation to motor insurance can be very complex (even for lawyers) but the following information is simplified to understand the point.
Where a vehicle has insurance but the driver does not have permission or it was stolen to drive the vehicle, the insurance company that insured the vehicle will, under the rules of the Motor Insurance Bureau, (MIB) be the responsible insurer and pay out to the bereaved family dependents any compensation that is due to the family under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 in particular.
If the vehicle and/or driver could not be traced then a claim can be made, again via the MIB for compensation for causing death by dangerous driving under the uninsured loss agreement.
What is the Coroner’s Court?
Families will hear of a specialist court called ‘The Coroner’s Court’ is inquisitorial to investigate the possible causes of death that may be suspicions or death following a crime or criminal activity such as the deceased being killed due to dangerous driving.
The judge who is called a ‘Coroner’ will hold an ‘Inquest’ into the cause of death. The Coroner has wide-raging powers can can order various witnesses and the Police to attend court to give evidence.
This will involve driving that is deliberate, the CPS use the words “a flagrant disregard” for the rules of the road, examples include:
A prolonged, persistent and deliberate course of very bad driving
Consuming substantial amounts of alcohol or drugs leading to gross impairment.
Substantial risk of danger to life.
This is the second serious charge which the following will be taken into account by the Police:
Excessive speed, racing or competitive driving against another driver,
Avoidable distraction such as using your phone, reading, composing a text message over a period of time.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, failing to take prescribed medication or as a result of a known medical condition.
Significant risk of danger to life.
The third charge and less serious compared to the other two charges but nevertheless, the end result is still the same.
Driving above the speed limit/at a speed that is inappropriate for the prevailing conditions.
Driving when knowingly deprived of adequate sleep or rest or knowing that the vehicle has a dangerous defect or is poorly maintained or is dangerously leaded.
A brief but obvious danger arising from a seriously dangerous manoeuvre.
Driving whilst avoidably distracted.
Failing to have proper regard to vulnerable road users.
Are You Affected by the Death of a Loved One Due to Dangerous Driving?
You are not alone. We are here to help you every step of the way. Our philosophy is the same (see our quote below). We help you get to the truth, support you through the Courts and Inquest hearing and claim any compensation for the family left behind.
Please contact us, even if you are a concerned friend of the bereaved family call us now. We will be pleased to hear from you. Our advice can be undertaken by our no win, no fee, solicitors.
Crown Prosecution Service
Whist we are civil claim solicitors, claiming compensation for death by dangerous driving offences, nevertheless it must be remembered that the offence comes under Criminal Law which means there are serious consequences as a conviction can result in imprisonment. The criminal law is enforced by the Police who gather the evidence sufficient for the driver to be charged with the offence. Once the Police have the necessary evidence, the file is then passed to the Crown Prosecution Service who will then present the case to the Judge and Jury.
The CPS on their website, provides information on what they do summarised as follows:
decides which cases should be prosecuted;
determines the appropriate charges in more serious or complex cases, and advises the police during the early stages of investigations;
prepares cases and presents them at court; and
provides information, assistance and support to victims and prosecution witnesses.
There is advice if you are a victim of a criminal offence or a witness, in both circumstances it can be a very emotional and stressful time; support for victims and witnesses.
The CPS will often prosecute criminals in the following courts in order of hierarchy
However only minor criminal offences are taken to the Magistrates Court, and therefore causing death by dangerous driving offence will be tried in the Crown Court before a Judge and a Jury.
A Magistrates’ court deals with minor offences, e.g.:
most motoring offences (unpaid parking fees)
minor criminal damage
being drunk and disorderly
drugs offences (minor offences)
The Magistrates Court has jurisdiction to deal with charges, but they have limited authority to pass a maximum term of imprisonment of only 6 months. The Magistrates can, if they consider this sentence too short for the crime, refer the case up to the Crown Court for sentencing.
A Crown Court can give a range of sentences which are serious including:
The punishment should fit the crime. But you cannot get more serious than causing the death of another person(s). However by being charged with the offence of dangerous driving is due to an accident or mistake rather than an intention to kill.
An intention to kill someone is with what lawyers call ‘malice aforethought‘ a premeditated or intentional act to murder a person. So the easiest example is a criminal who plans weeks or months ahead to kill someone. The guilty mind is present and the execution is the act of killing i.e. stabbing or shooting etc. That is murder and thus a life sentence is appropriate.
But causing death by dangerous driving in the UK is an ‘accident’. The driver did not intentionally go out that morning, day or night to kill someone. What the driver did was to drive his or her vehicle dangerously, the terms used could be recklessly by driving too fast for instance. The standard test used by the Court under the Road Traffic Act 1988 is put simply as:
‘obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving the vehicle in its current state would be dangerous.’*
The current phenomena of using mobile phones behind the wheel is a prime example of a driver being charged with death by dangerous driving.
The CPS can construe the use of a mobile phone as a serious criminal offence, and if the sue of a phone causes the death of another road user or pedestrian you could be imprisoned for up to 14 years.
Motorcyclists Are 62 Times More Likely to Suffer a Fatal Accident
Did you know that motorcyclists are 62 times more likely to suffer a fatal accident than car drivers? This is according to 2018 motorbike accident statistics. This shocking figure shows just how dangerous the road can be for certain road users. Anyone who uses the road will always have the risk of sustaining serious injuries from an accident. The level of risk is greater when dangerous and reckless driving is involved. However, motorcyclists are more at risk than anyone else. With a shocking fatality rate that is 62 times greater than motorists, it’s clear that motorcyclists are more likely to succumb to injuries they receive. Motorbikes are able to reach high speeds similar to cars and trucks, but are more difficult to see and their riders have less protection, resulting in a greater chance of a serious injury.
Who is a dependant?
This can be very wide. But in most fatal accident compensation claims brought by solicitors on behalf of the dependants, are usually the deceased’s “next of kin,” that is, close family such as widow/widower, children of the deceased, grandparents, brother/sister.
“Dependants are fixed at the date of death but a dependant can be a matter of fiction and entitled to claim”
Due to a recent change in the law, under s. 83 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 a dependant now includes a “Civil Partner” of the Deceased.
In addition to the above, if a partner was living with the Deceased (similar to a husband and wife relationship) for at least 2 years prior to death, the living partner can also become a dependant under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.
Dependants are fixed at the date of death but a dependant can be a matter of fiction and entitled to claim. Therefore a dependant can be an unborn child at the date of death. It can also be a child that has not yet been born. Thus if there is evidence that the deceased would have intended to start a family then a possible claim can be made on behalf of that “fictitious” child. For further information pleas also see our fatal accidents claims guide.
What does estate mean?
In lay-person’s terms, the “estate” are the assets and liabilities of the Deceased accrued at death and may continue after death. This can include the value of any house, money in the bank, shares, bonds, investments, life insurance policies less any liabilities that the Deceased owed at the time of death such as bank loans, mortgages etc.
Thus any compensation for a fatal accident claim due to the Deceased will therefore form part of the Deceased’s estate like an asset.
In most claims, the person(s) entitled to the deceased’s estate are usually the dependants, but not always. Therefore a fatal accident claim may give rise to one person being entitled to all the compensation, an obvious example is the widow who can claim as a dependant and also as the person entitled under her late husband’s estate.
What can be claimed, following a fatal accident?
The following is a summary of the compensation that can be claimed following a fatal accident:
Pain and suffering of the deceased (if any at the time)
The court will not award any compensation to the estate if death was instantaneous (technically, there is no pain and suffering). This is difficult to explain to grieving dependants as clearly there must have been some pain and suffering that had caused death.
“The law that deals with fatal accident compensation, clearly gets in the way of justice in our respectful view.”
Similarly if the Deceased was in coma before death there is no claim for pain and suffering. In the tragic case of Hicks (one of the Hillsborough Cases) the medical evidence brought to court was that both girls died of traumatic asphyxia in the crush and would have fallen unconscious within seconds and died within minutes. The claim for compensation was rejected.
It is with regret that the law governing fatal accident compensation claims do not tend to favour dependant claimants and are often harsh. The law that deals with fatal accident compensation, clearly gets in the way of justice in our respectful view.
Fatal Car Accidents and Compensation Claim Solicitors
Nobody can put a cost on the death of a loved one following a fatal car accident. The personal tragedy, pain and suffering is immeasurable. Whilst the law treats the death of a loved one following a fatal car accident as the same as other tragic accidents, fatal car accidents deserve a particular mention here because of the number of deaths on the Road (about 3,000 per year).
It is often the case that death by dangerous driving often leave bereaved families let down by the Justice system. With only 60% of drivers being procectued and an average prison sentence of 4 years really is not good enough. With compensation that follows a fatal road accident by dangerous or careless driving, totally inadequate, it is common feeling of injustice for the victim and the family left behind.
The two main types of fatal accident claims that arise from the following charges made out by the police:
Fatal road accident claims may also arise without any charge of criminal activity on behalf of the driver(s) to blame. This is because to charge a driver with death by careless or dangerous driving requires a higher standard of proof by the police (or Crown Prosecution Service ‘CPS’). The phrase most people would have heard from films is ‘proof beyond reasonable doubt.’ However in a civil claim as opposed to criminal, where compensation is claimed against the driver(s), the standard of proof the fatal accident solicitors need is ‘on a balance of probabilities’ i.e. proof of blame above 50%.
Help & Support When You Need It – Fatal Accidents
Despite the hurdles families have to face when they lose a loved one following a death in a fatal car accident, nevertheless there is an enormous amount of work we can do to help you. From helping with the investigations about the cause of the fatal road accident to dealing with the paper-work and compensation amount we will be here for you every step of the way.
Our NO WIN, NO FEE, SOLICITOR service means that there will be at least one less worry on the families behalf by instructing us the specialist in fatal car accident claims.
Fatal Car Accidents – Multiple Hurt
With fatal car accidents the tragedy is often amplified by the fact that the same members of one family and/or close friends are often occupants in the same car. In a number of cases, several family members are killed. The effects are devastating and even more so if the driver of the same family was at fault. We will be here to support the family get to the truth and guide them through the legal maze and see a sense of justice through the pain and hurt.
At R James Hutcheon Solicitors we do understand that compensation 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 a loved one especially if they were the main “bread winner.” Below is a list of most common questions asked by bereaved families:-
Who will pay the bills?
Who will look after the children?
Often a claim out of financial necessity as well as getting to the truth of what happened tends to be the dominant factors when family dependants instruct solicitors.
It’s not just about compensation.
Our specialist fatal accident team helps the family achieve a sense of justice by taking action against the Defendant to prove fault and to legally represent the family at the inquest to help investigate the cause of death.
Family Claims – Passengers in a car will nearly always be entitled to compensation against the driver of the car they are traveling in, the driver of the other car or both. This is because they are innocent victims which sometimes means that they (or their estate) will have to claim against a family member who was at fault when driving the car they were traveling in. However, and in reality it is the insurance company of the driver who will pay the compensation.
If the driver does not have any insurance please see below in respect of “MIB” cases. In such tragic cases a claim for compensation must be considered and expert solicitor representation should be sought.
Uninsured or Untraced Fatal Car Accident Claims (MIB Claims) – A sizable number of fatal and non-fatal but serious accidents result in a driver being uninsured or failing to stop at the scene of the accident. You should not give up hope in claiming compensation as the Motor Insuers Bureau (“MIB”) was set up to compensate victims/family members of car accidents. Compensation will be payable in the usual way.
Not everyone connected to the deceased can claim compensation. The law limits the type of people who can claim. The word “family” and “dependants” are used to describe close family ties with the deceased such as children, wife or husband as this group of family members are often the most affected in a fatal accident claim and usually “dependant” upon the deceased.
Therefore the person(s) who can claim on behalf of the deceased are those close family members who were in some way “dependant” upon the deceased before and at the time of death which include:
Deceased’s infant children
Parents of the deceased
Any person who was living with the deceased as husband or wife immediately before the accident and was doing so for at least two years prior to the accident
A fatal accident claim on behalf of the deceased can also be made if the deceased would have been able to claim compensation himself/herself at the time of death.
For further reading please click onto the following links on our fatal accident web site:
The number of fatal road accidents in Britain for 2007, according to the Department of Transport, fell by 7% from 3,172 in 2006 to 2,943. The number of non-fatal serious injuries on the road were 30,720. There were 247,780 road casualties. The number of fatal accidents among car users were 1,431 and non-fatal serious injury accidents 11,536. The number of fatal accidents and non-fatal serious accidents involving children was 3,090, of those 1,899 were pedestrians, 121 children died on the roads. There were 644 pedestrian fatal accidents. Pedal cyclists fatal accidents fell from 146 in 2006 to 136 in 2007, serious non-fatal accidents rose by 6% to 2,428. There were 588 motorcyclists fatally killed, the number of fatal and non-fatal but serious accidents rose on the previous year to to 6,737. All motorcycle accidents was 1% higher at 23,459. The Cost of road accidents is estimated to about £20,000 million in which 95% are of human error. One is seven people fatally killed on the road have a drink-drive element. There are about 31million vehicles on the road. Deaths of the road to car accident for further reading and advice.