Category Archives: Death by Careless Driving

Bereavement Award A Lottery To Claim

Why is the bereaement Award A Lottery?

What is a bereavement award?

In a civil law claim where a loved on sadly dies due to the wrongful actions of another, most typically where a driver of a motor vehicle kills another and is charged with offences such as causing death by dangerous driving or causing death by careless driving the bereaved families of can claim compensation under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 for a bereavement award.

Now for some reason only known to the Government that sets the laws and the amount of compensation that can be claimed for a bereavement award, the amount on offer is only meant to be a token value.  One could say that no amount of money can ever replaced a loved one.  However, there has to be reality here when someone is unlawfully killed in an act of pure recklessness on the road or disregard over  health and safety if an employee is loses his or her life at work.  But where you live in the United Kingdom determies who can claim and the amount that can be claimed, an article in The Times refers; Bereavment Compensation A Lottery

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What is the amount of a bereavement award? 

As mentioned above this is set by the Government and has increased from £12,980 to £15,120 for any fatal accidents that have occurred on May 2020.  The amount so unjust.

What is the post code award for a bereavement award?  Well those who lose a loved one in Scotland, it is reported can obtain substantially more than those bereaved families in England and Wales.  It appears that in Scotland they are  more sympathetic to those families who lose a loved one through no fault of their own. The Courts will assess the closeness of love an affection to the deceased an place a more reasonable award.

Who can receive a bereavement award?

This is also where the lottery of where you live plays a part.  In England and Wales the Fatal Accident Act 1976 is very restrictive as to who can claim a bereavement award.  For instance, where a parent loses a child in a road accident, the parent cannot claim for a bereavement award if the child is 18 years or older.  Makes not sense.  Similarly if a chid loses a parent, the child cannot claim a bereavement award, no matter how old.

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Why pay compensation for a bereavement award?

The question is why not?  If a family member is killed in an accident it causes a financial loss to the household in addition to the loss of love and support for the life time of the surviving partner and children.  Often the partner of the deceased will be unable to return to work for a substantial time (where the law says that they cannot claim for any loss of earnings by the way another unjust part of the laws that apply to England and Wales).  The amount does not justify the loss to the family left behind.  Further a larger bereavement award will also be

What is the lottery postcode for a bereavement award?

The Times Newspaper refers to the differnence in  laws between Scotland and England and Wales;

“There is a postcode lottery when someone is wrongfully killed in the UK,” says Sam Elsby, the president of the APIL which produced a report showing that “only a very rigid, prescribed list of relatives qualify for statutory compensation for their untimely loss in England, Wales and Northern Ireland”.

The association says that in Scotland “the law has no difficulty in recognising the closeness of different relationships”. But in the other UK jurisdictions unmarried fathers do not qualify for payments, and step-parents, parents of adults, brothers and sisters are left out. “It is woefully discriminatory and out of date,” Elsby says.

See also: List of family members who cannot claim a bereavement award

See also: Bereavement Award in Scotland

Why is the bereavement Award Unjust?

It is difficult why the law makers in England and Wales put such token amounts on the value of life.  It is because the motor injurers and employers liability insurers who are large multi international companies can lobby Government to keep payments to bereaved families low.

Because the bereaved families are vulnerable?  I say this because of the phone hacking scandal where celebrities can claim over £200,000 for ‘hurt feelings’ for someone listening in on their phone calls.  I have no issues with the award, but my issue is how does this compare to losing a loved one killed by another?  There is simply no comparison.

How can I instruct a Bereavement Award Solicitor?

Please only contact expert solicitors in this area.  A ‘personal injury’ lawyer is not usually the best solicitor to instruct unless they have a specialist interest in fatal accidents because the law of calculating compensation is different.  The unwary solicitor may fail to obtain the maximum result of bereaved families.

Please remember that it is not just a bereavement award that can be claim, there are many other aspects such as funeral costs, headstone costs, dependency claim and care and support claims that can add to a substantial amount.

Please contact us now for free support and advice: bereavement awards solicitors.

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Compensation For The Death of a Family Member

How to claim compensation for death of a family member.

The death of a family member caused by a fatal car accident or a fatal accident at work for instance is a traumatic time for all concenred. The Legal Authority to Make a Fatal Accident Claim for the death of a Family Member is currently under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934.

The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 makes it possible to claim compensation for the death of a family member in respect of a wrongful death. It enable entitles certain people to make a claim for compensation in order to reflect their loss of financial dependency on the deceased. The categories of people in tilted to claim could include spouses, civil partners and children of the deceased. However, the number of Dependants is not fixed it could range further than immediate family; it could also extend to siblings and grandparents.

The Dependants are usually the deceased ‘Next of Kin’ so the fatal accident claims are usually made by the same people. Dependents are able to claim for any loss any dependency including;

For more guidance and information Fatal Accident claims after the death of a family member check out our Fatal Accident Claims Guide.

Bereavement Award

Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 a Bereavement Award is a personal injury claim made following the unlawful death of a person to the fault of another. Entitlement for a Bereavement Award is calculated on an individual case-by-case basis. To qualify for a Bereavement Award a claimant has to show they fall within a particular class of persons entitled and highlight how they have suffered or are suffering a loss.

Bereavement damages are most often paid where you may also hear the words ‘unlawful killing’ or where the death has occurred due to a criminal offence such as murder.

The Bereavement award is a one of payment of £12,980 to certain relatives of the deceased which is limited to the wife, husband or civil partner of the deceased. The exception to the strict criteria is where the deceased was a minor, in which case the deceased parents may be entitled to a bereavement award.
The amount of the Bereavement Award has increased over the last decades and historical figures for the Bereavement Award are;

£3,500 to £7,500 – 1 April 1991
£10,000 – 1 April 2002
£11,200 – 1 January 2008
£11,800 – 1 January 2012
£12,980 – 1 April 2013
£15,120 – 1 May 2021

This provision has been widely criticised, particularly in light of ‘the number of cohabiting couple families has increased faster than a married couple and lone-parent families, with an increase of 25.8% over the decade 2008 to 2018’ according to the Office for National Statistics. It is our firm belief that when a couple has cohabited for years and may even have started a family together it seems unjust to deny them the Bereavement Award solely on the basis that they have not entered into a legal marriage. As reported by the BBC the Law Commission previously suggested ‘cohabiting couples should be eligible for bereavement damages’.

For further guidance and information on the Bereavement Award after the Death of a Family Member check out our Bereavement Award – Guide 2020.

Dependency on Children in Fatal Accident Claims

The legal system sparks a grave injustice where children are killed in an accident where it is another’s fault.  Most such cased involved fatal road accidents where the child is a passenger in a vehicle.

The law ignores children from a compensation point of view.  It is as though they are worthless.  A child who is tragically killed in a road accident or other equally tragic event where the death or unlawful killing was the fault of another, the compensation for dependency is usually the following:

  1. Bereavement award.
  2. Return to parents of funeral expenses.
  3. Damage for personal items such as clothing.
  4. Compensation for any pain and suffering prior to death.

Due to the child’s age there is often no financial dependency upon the child by the parents or guardian responsible for looking after him/her and thus the loss of a child is quite often valued at £NOTHING, subject to a bereavement award. It truly is remarkable that this law is still in place today.

Fatal Accident Compensation for Cohabitees

As the Law stands, cohabitees are not able to claim for a Bereavement Award under the 1976 Act. However, as cohabitation is becoming increasingly regular amongst couples in the UK. The law is gradually adapting to accommodate these alterations to the usual household dynamic and provide greater protection for cohabitees; however, there are no immediate legal rights for cohabiting couples.

When a long term partner and cohabitee passes away at the fault of a third party the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 makes it possible for cohabitees to claim for compensation if they fulfil certain criteria;

  • That they were living with the deceased in the same household immediately before the date of the death.
  • That they had been living with the deceased in the same household for at least 2 years before that date.
  • That they were living during the whole of that period as the husband or wife or civil partner of the deceased.

However, a person seeking to make a claim under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 are not only required to prove that they are living with the deceased but equally the permanence and stability of the relationship with the deceased. Evidence of the stability of a relationship includes things such as shared bills, bank accounts and other household arrangements.

Equally, to the internal nature of the relationship, the external nature will also be relevant; in other words, the nature to which the relationship was presented publically as living together in a long term sustained relationship. Brief periods of absence will not break the continuity of cohabiting if it is found that the deceased and the claimant did cohabit together regularly.

Legal Challenges for Fatal Accident Compensation for Cohabitees

The Law on Fatal Accident Claims after the death as the result of a third party may be set to change in relation to cohabitees after a recent ruling in the Smith v (1) Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (2) Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and (3) The Secretary of State for Justice [2017] EWCA Civ 1916.

In the case Ms. Jakki Smith, the claimant and the deceased Mr. John Bulloch cohabited as man and wife between March 2000 and his death on 12 October 2011. Mr Bulloch died as a result of medical negligence of the first and second defendants. The defendants admitted the negligence but claimed that Ms Smith was not entitled to the Bereavement Award as the couple never officially married.

Ms. Smith’s legal team argued that in denying cohabitees from claiming the Bereavement Award, the High Court ruling dismissing her claim breached Article 8 and Article 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Ms. Smith argued that the legislation discriminated her as an unmarried woman. As Article 8 protects the right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence and; Article 14 requires that all of the rights and freedoms set out in the Act must be protected and applied without discrimination; the law needs to take into consideration that cohabitation can and does give rise to intimate and long-term relationships which stand to be compensated for the grief experienced when one party dies due to the fault of a third party.

The Court of Appeals issued a section 4(2) declaration of incompatibility under the Human Rights Act 1998 to the effect that section 1A of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 is not in accordance to the European Convention of Human Rights. This in itself does not change UK law it paved the way for parliament to amend the legislation through a joint committee to review the Fatal Accident Act 1976 with regards to cohabiting couples. On 8 May 2019, the Government laid a proposal draft Remedial Order to remedy the discrimination. However, as it stands cohabitees are not entitled to a Bereavement Award.

Claiming for Compensation For The Death of a Family Member

The law on the rights of cohabitees when one dies in an accident found to be the fault of a third party is gradually coming in line with the dynamic of modern families and the social acceptance of the legitimacy of cohabiting couples. Cohabitees may claim compensation for loss of dependency provided they are able to demonstrate that they lived in the same household as the deceased. Each case is judged with its own specific details but primarily the claimant must demonstrate that they were in an internally and externally stable relationship of sufficient permanence to be eligible. Currently, the Bereavement Award is not available for Cohabitees however, this will change but the time scale for this to be included within the law is undetermined.

Contact us to find out more about your compensation options.

Lorry Driver Watching TV Causes Death

A lorry driver has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving when it is alleged that he was watching television at the time of the collision.

The lorry driver drove into the rear of the vehicle the deceased was driving when it is thought he was watching television.

The lorry driver has denied causing death by dangerous driving but has agreed to a lesser charge of causing death by careless driving.

Compensation Death by Dangerous Driving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google Searches Reveal Watching Television while Driving

The prosecution in a trial has informed the court that the lorry driver had made two Google Searches on his phone in his cab revealing the possibility that shortly before the tragic collision that he may have been watching television hence the charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

At the court hearing it was said:

“There was clearly inadequate distance between the car and the lorry and insufficient time to stop.”

The court was told that the lorry driver was looking downwards for an “extended period” and was not paying attention to the road.

“There was no hope at that point to stop in time and avoid a collision,” the lorry driver’s actions were “inevitably dangerous”.

The lorry driver is said to have admitted that he“fell short” of the required standard but added: “The Crown say the driving was much worse than that and fell far below.”

The trial continues, reported in The Times

Compensation for causing death by dangerous driving?

If you or your family have been affected by this article and require legal advice please do not hesitate to contact our legal team who will advise you of your legal rights and help you through the legal paper-work required.

Further reading please click on the following links:

Causing death by dangerous driving

Causing death by careless driving

Fatal Accidents Act 1976

 

 

Mobile phone related deaths UK

Mobile phone related deaths UK

Causing death by dangerous driving or death by careless driving whilst using a mobile phone can result, in the former case a jail term of life.

Drivers who cause death by using their mobile phones (it may also apply to using hands-free devices) may still get life.  If the charge is death by careless driving, the jail term may be 14 years.

There were 10,000 reported motorists caught twice behind the wheel over the last 4 years.  Incidents that may give rise to a charge for careless driving or dangerous driving are listed below, but beware, if a momentary lapse of using your mobile (or cell phone) which caused death or serious injury may result in up to life imprisonment.

Fatal road accident claims

Examples that may mobile use giving rise to compensation for death whilst driving a car

Many typical examples are:

  • quick look at who text
  • texting
  • making a call
  • receiving a call
  • checking emails
  • sending emails
  • playing music
  • the list is now endless with smart phones.

Everyone is urged to put their mobile phone in the glove box to prevent temptation and the devastating result of an accident to the driver and to those who may be injured or killed as a result.

Compensation for death by using a mobile phone behind the wheel

Families left devastated by the death of a loved one following a fatal car accident claim will no doubt be pleased to hear of the increase in the sentence.  However this does not match any increase for:

However the compensation levels are available to help families whose lives have been devastated by the loss of a close family member. Contact us now for family help and support via our fatal car accident helpline.

The current penalties for the offence are listed below.

Fatal car accident mobile charges

Mobile phone deaths in the UK behind the wheel

There is a lot of information on our website to cover this important and ever changing topic and the links below will guide you through the most important issues:

Using Mobile Phone Behind The Wheel – Fatal – CU80

Fatal Road Accident – Using Mobile Phone

Fatal accidents claims and mobile phone usage

Death by Dangerous Cycling

We have all heard of causing death by dangerous driving or causing death by careless driving, however the Conservative Government are considering if a charge on the statue books can be brought for causing death by dangerous cycling.

Ministers this month are looking into the death of a cyclist where a woman was hit by a bike when she crossed the road.  The cyclist was charged and convicted with wanton and furious driving over the death.

Riding a Bike with Faulty Breaks

It was revealed that the bike had no front brake.  The cyclists was, however, cleared of manslaughter and convicted of a lesser charge which only carried a maximum sentence of just 2 years.

Increase the Punishment

There is no backing with the Government to review the law when someone is killed on the road or pavement by a cyclists to bring it in line with the law relating to motor vehicles.  There has been a recent growth in cyclists over the past 10 years and as a result, the probability is that more people could be injured or killed on the roads.

Parliament is reviewing the law in this area following the sad loss.

Hit and Run Driving – Man Jailed

A set of tragic circumstances led to the loss of two young cousins in a hit and run case on New Year’s Eve. The driver was convicted of careless driving and jailed for 4 years.

The set of regrettable circumstances are:

  1. Hungarian man allowed to come to the UK with criminal convictions.
  2. His friends also with criminal convictions allowed in the UK.
  3. Not just criminal convictions but the driver was in prison.
  4. Three accomplices tried to help the driver get away.
  5. Driving without a licence.
  6. The two young cousins moved to the UK for a better life
  7. Following the conviction, the judge did not know if he had power to deport the men.

The judge heard that the driver who was convicted for careless driving rather than dangerous driving had convictions for car theft, gang robbery and aggravated assault.  It was estimated that he was driving about 40 mph in a 30 mph zone, at least he was doing 29 mph.  He was charged with careless driving rather than dangerous driving due to the fact that CCTV footage showed that a van had obscured his view resulting in less time to react.

Fatal Accident Claims – Uninsured Driver

When faced with a fatal accident claims road traffic accident there can be worry for the dependent family that the defendant driver does not have motor insurance to provide compensation to the deceased’s estate and family left behind.

Thankfully, even if the defendant driver was uninsured or even untraced at the time of the fatal accident claim the family and the estate of the deceased are still able to obtain compensation from the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB).

Fatal Accidents Claims - The Law

The MIB has been set up to provide compensation for fatal accident claim so that the family left behind do not financially suffer as a result of losing a love one.

The claim procedure will be handled the same by the fatal accident claim solicitors which will include:

  • Investigating the circumstances of the fatal accident claim.
  • Dealing with the police
  • Speaking to the coroner
  • Attendance at a coroner’s hearing if required
  • Establishing compensation award
  • Establishing dependents of the deceased.
  • Providing compensation payments

Fatal Accident Claims – Need Advice?

If you or a member of the family who have lost a loved one and are in need for advice, please contact the fatal accident claim solicitors now.

 

Fatal Car Accident Claims – Marijuana

Tragically it is not just human error, a split second wrong decision or complete and utter carelessness or recklessness that may cause a fatal road accident claim for compensation but what the driver does before getting behind the wheel.

The issue is drugs in society and seemingly freely available to many youngsters who drive today.

A recent study that the fatal accident claim solicitors blogged about earlier reported on a study by the Highway Safety Association which as reported that there are more fatal road accident claim due to drug taking than alcohol.

We reported that whilst this study was based on information from America, it is often the case (or at least is seems to give the impression) that come 10 years time, the UK will follow what the US does.

Cause for Concern – Fatal Car Accidents and Drug Taking?

As fatal accident claim solicitors specialising in this area, we consider that what happens in America will happen in the UK.  The report suggests that there were over 35,000 deaths due to road accidents.  A third of those drivers who died behind the wheel tested positive for some form of drug taking.

Marijuana – The Drug for Drivers?

The drug that most drivers that were killed behind the wheel in a fatal car accident claim had taken marijuana in some form or another. The next most common drug was amphetamine which showed up in about 9% of those deaths.

Should Marijuana be Legalised?

The report suggests that the rise in the number of fatal car accident claims due to drug taking coincided with the legalisation of the drug for recreational or medical use in more than 50% of the states in America.

The are calls in the UK for this drug to be legalised and perhaps this is one form of evidence that suggests that before we consider going down this road, more studies and safeguards should be considered.

Cyclists and Fatal Accidents – Near Misses

Cyclists are prone to serious life-chanigng injuries or fatalities on the road due to their vulnerability.

Cyclists are reported to be a risk to being knocked off their bike almost every 2 weeks which can be the fault of the cyclists not being aware of their surroundings or motorists not seeing or expecting a cyclist close by.

There are also other matters of concern to avoid such devastating consequences on the UK roads and streets.  What are they?  It is the ‘near misses.’  Those thankful days where a car, van or lorry just misses the cyclist and thus avoiding a fatal accident claim and serious injury.

25 Near Misses A Year

It is reported that almost every 2 weeks a cyclist is almost knocked off their bikes.  A staggering statistic. It appears there is confusion over the right of way at junctions in particular which gives rise to most risk to potential cycling fatal accident claims.

On average a cyclist will experience 25 near misses at junctions every year in the UK. The Highway Code is being criticised by cycling organisation to be updated to reflect the dangers and a petition has been set up.

British Cycling Federation have said that there are 14 conflicting rules to consider for cyclists and motorist alike when it comest to rights of way at road junctions.

Dangerous Common Risk

British Cycling have said that the most common dangerous manoeuvre was passing too close to the cyclist by a motorist.  It was recorded over 130 times a year and where a vehicle pulling out in front of a bike 70 times.

Contact the Cycling Accident Solicitors

If you have been involved in an accident causing injury or are a family member or friend who has lost a loved one please contact us for legal advice and support.  No matter how small the question on blame, liability, compensation or simply what to do we can point you in the right direction or help you submit a claim.

Suspicion of Death by Danger Driving in Liverpool

A man has been arrested in a ‘hit and run’ tragic fatal car accident when the vehicle he was driving caused the tragic death of a little girl and serious injury to her grandmother.

The man who handed himself in after allegedly travelling abroad after the tragic accident is now said to have handed himself in after pleas from his mother on national TV.

Police are not looking for any other suspect.

Further Reading on this tragic event: Liverpool Echo – Violet-Grace

Consequences Causing Death by Dangerous Driving

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.