Category Archives: Funeral Expenses

Claim Back Funeral Expenses

Funeral Expenses – Can they be recovered?

Fatal Accident Compensation

In accordance with the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 reasonable funeral expenses can be recovered against the party at fault. Funeral expenses can also be covered on behalf of the estate claim under a fatal accident (Law Reform Miscellaneous Act 1935) but in practice most claims for funeral costs are in accordance with the 1976 Act.

This is because the dependents left behind are the ones who generally pay for the funeral cost and that expense is recoverable back to them.  If the expense is paid by the deceased’s estate then it can be recoverable by the estate.

Average Costs of a Funeral

Funerals are not cheap and can put a bereaved family into debt.  It is reported that the average costs of a funeral is now in the region of £4,000. Combined with the loss of income or carer which often arises following fatal accident claims means that not only do bereaved families have to cope with the emotional stress of losing a loved one but also the added burden of loss of imcome or care within the family unit.

This can lead to unnecessary stress and burden.

How can we help?

At fatal accident claims, we are experienced in dealing with the recovery of the funeral expenses following a fatal accident in addition to the other claims that can be made which can be substantial especially if the deceased had a young family.

Employee Drowns While Collecting Golf Balls

Employee Drowns While Collecting Golf Balls

We go to work expecting that the laws are there to protect employees.  There are various Health and Safety Laws to provide that protection but sadly, all too often they are ignored.

In this tragic accident a man had drowned when he was sent by his employer to collect golf balls from the bottom of a lake.

Fatal accident solicitors
Fatal accident solicitors

The employee has available to him a garden hose attached to a compressor as breathing apparatus.

The deceased had learning difficulties, he was weighed down by a diving belt and a bag of golf balls.

His employer was in fact  his friend and he was jailed for manslaughter.

Fatal Accident At Work

It is reported that he had breached at least 16 health and safety regulations.  Neither the deceased nor his employer had any diving experience.  The employer decided he would use his childhood friend to collect the golf balls after he realised the true expense of collecting them if using a professional diver.

A very sad but quite unusual case as here the employer and deceased where childhood friends.  Nevertheless the consequences are tragic and various protection laws were broken.

If you have been affected by this case and require help or assistance please contact us.

Estate to Pay more in Fatal Accident Claims

Dramatic increased in court fees are not uncommon with the Conservative Government.  Now the bereaved families are set with another tax through probate fees which will come into force in May 2017.

What is Probate in a Fatal Accident Claim?

Probate is the court procedure to ensure that the person who has died is officially recorded and to show the assets and liabilities of deceased immediately before death.

Probate will be obtained by the deceased executors if a will was left behind or through the next of kin (known as intestacy) if there is no will.

The person(s) in charge of the deceased affairs will then issue the relevant paperwork at the local court to obtain permission to officially deal with the legal affairs of the deceased which includes selling or maintaining assets and paying debts of the deceased.

In addition, of course, the person(s) dealing with the affairs of the deceased will also need to file the relevant IHT (Inheritance Tax Forms) to inform the Inland Revenue of how much tax, if any, the estate has to pay.

Fatal Accident Claims Increase Probate Fees

Fatal accident solicitors will need to advise bereaved families of the increase in the probate court fees, which can raise to £20,000 simply to authorise the court to proceed through probate.  There is nothing more the court will do for this hefty fee, it is just a backdoor method of gaining more tax from the dead.

Not All Accident Solicitors Are the Same

Not All Accident Solicitors Are the Same

Not all fatal accident solicitors are the same.  It this most difficult time for family members who are looking for legal advice in such an emotional and traumatic time, it is important that you do obtain advice from as specialist in this area.

Fatal accident claims can involve a very complex area of the law where there are pitfalls for the unweary and inexperience solicitor who may be very good dealing with simple whiplash injury road traffic accident claims or accidents at work but not equipped with fatal injury compensation claims.  Applying the law to fatal accident claims is not routine, the demands and complexity are uniquely demanding and simply nothing short of experience and expertise should be considered in such a difficult time for the family.

Fatal Acciident Compensation Law

One Example of an Inexperienced Solicitor Getting It Wrong

In this matter, a firm of fatal accident solicitors  acted for a family whose adult child was tragically killed in a road traffic accident.  The deceased was living away from his parents and recently left university and was in a full-time job.

The fatal accident solicitors instructed by the family pursued the claim against the other driver that killed the adult child.  The police via the Crown Prosecution Service  (CPS) successfully pursue the charges of causing death by dangerous driving.

Following the conviction the family as requested by the fatal accident claim solicitors requests that they send the receipts in of the funeral expenses to stat they can be reimbursed with the cost of the funeral and headstone which is a claim that can be made under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.

The fatal accident solicitor only made a cursory enquiry asking simply did their adult child provide an financial support for them at the time of death.  The answer was ‘no.’

The insurance company for the other driver made an offer to compensate the family for the funeral expenses in ‘full and final settlement’ of the fatal accident claim.  That was it.  The family became a little concerned and questioned their rights.  After seeking advice from us, it quickly became apparent that the fatal accident solicitor simply did not go into any detail about what a ‘dependency claim’ involves and what can be claimed.

Fatal Accident Dependency Claim

It turns out that the parents and the deceased had in mind shortly before the tragic death that their adult child was intending to come back to live with the parents due to job relocation and more-over to look after one of them as they had fallen ill.  That the provision of care to one parent and that the adult child would financially support his family was simply over-looked by the fatal accident solicitor.  No proper and full investigations were ever made.

Had it not been for that telephone call to us, the fatal accident solicitors the family would have settled the claim for compensation for the loss of funeral expenses.  The total value of the Dependency claim is significant and whilst no amount of fatal accident compensation can ever be considered as justice, it does provide some financial security, closure and piece of mind.

Fatal Accident Solicitors – Advice & Support

We are here to help you every step of the way.  The first legal step is to call us.  We will be sympathetic and with over 20 years of dealing with families left devastated by the loss of a loved one appreciate your concerns and demands for justice.  We work under a No Win, No Fee Solicitor service so you have no worries in getting in touch.

Make sure you instruct the right fatal accident solicitor,  otherwise you may  not obtain  the justice that you deserve and the right amount of compensation of piece of mind  and  a sense of closure.  The above link is a cautionary tale of what can easily go wrong if the family instruct the wrong fatal accident solicitor.

Fatal Car Injury - Contact Us


Brief Guide to Compensation

Brief Claim Guide to Compensation

Fatal Accident Compensation Advice:

Who can claim?
•    Widow/Widower
•    Deceased’s children / parents
•    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

Depending on the circumstances of the fatal accident claim can be made for:
•    The injuries of the loved one who died, if he or she was conscious of pain before death
•    Funeral expenses
•    Statutory bereavement damages
•    Loss of financial dependency – which means a loss of the financial contribution of the deceased to the household
•    Loss of non-financial dependency. This can include things like DIY and other help around the house which the deceased used to provide to his or her family.

Statutory Bereavement award following a fatal injury:
•    Standard bereavement award is £12,980.
•    This is awarded when someone dies as a result of an accident due to the fault of another.
•    The bereavement award in Scotland is not a set figure; it can vary from case to case depending on the circumstances. This can result in much higher awards being granted to represent the value of life lost more suitably than merely just a standard figure of £12,980.

Analysis of Fatal Accident Compensation

The benchmark figure of £12,980 for a bereavement award seems an incredibly underwhelming and frankly upsetting value of life. This financial award is only granted to a surviving partner/civil partner, or parents if their child is younger than 18.

The strict restrictions placed upon this area of Law underlines the contempt in which the Law seems to value the lives of its people.

Further compensation can be claimed for, yet because of a combination of a trend of low payment figures and small prison sentences for the defendant, many of these cases can leave a claimant feeling as if they are being denied true justice because of the attitude of the Law.

No Win, No Fee, Help & Advice For Families

At R James Hutcheon Solicitors we can guarantee that we will do our upmost to reassure and fully support a close family member who has suffered the bereavement of a loved one who they were dependant upon and is looking to pursue a fatal accident compensation claim. We will look to ensure that the unfair nature of this area of Law in particular does not result in our client’s feeling abandoned. Our work will help mitigate the effects of such an unjust concept to help obtain maximum compensation for the fatal injury and losses that will arise as a result of the tragic loss.

Contact us now the fatal accident claim solicitors, we work under a no win no fee solicitor service so you have no financial worries in contacting us.


Fatal Accident At Work – Crush Injuries

A fatal accident at work occurred to an engineer who is said to have been crushed to death as reported in the Irish News.

It is said that the tragedy occurred when the employee was caught up in machinery.  The Health and Safety Executive are to carry out appropriate investigations into the tragic death at work.

Anyone who seek help and advice regarding a fatal accident at work may seek the help and advice from specialist solicitors, who will be able to help with making a fatal accident compensation claim.

The tragedy is compounded by the fact that following a death at work, it is often the ‘bread winner’ that has lost his or her life. The consequences are only too apparent by the fact the death was sudden and unexpected.  Thus there is almost always and immediate loss of income to the family.  The bills, unfortunately do not stop once a death has occurred in the family.

The mortgage, rent, council tax, utility bill,s car bills, finance, loans and more still have to be paid.  Combined with having to find an immediate expense of about £7,000 for the cost of a funeral.

The loss and grieving is hard enough but to then be worried about finances can make the stress un-necessary.  As fatal work accident claims solicitors, we can help take action against the employers if there is a possibility they may be at fault.  All employers by law must have insurance to pay out for such eventualities.

If the death at work compensation claim is met by an admission by the employers insurance company that the fatal accident at work claim was as a result of the employer’s negligence or fault, then the solicitors helping the family can obtain an interim payment to help with the funeral expense within a matter of weeks and deal with the rest of the compensation claim when all the evidence in support of the dependents are obtained.

Why Did The Courts Got It Wrong Over Many Years? (Part 3)

Why Did The Courts Got It Wrong Over Many Years?

The Ogden Tables were used to compensate future awards of compensation for fatal accident dependents and victims of life changing injuries.  The Ogden Tables use what are called ‘multipliers’ that is a calculation to apply a fixed lump sum award the claimant would received today and ‘discount’ the compensation lump sum due to the fact that the claimant would get the money now rather than piece meal over what can be many years into the future.

In fatal accident claims, however, the Courts in the 1970’s (see case of Cookson v Knowles [1979] in particular where Lord Fraser stated:

‘In a personal injury case, if the injured person has survived until the date of trial, that is a known fact…But in a fatal accident case, the multiplier must be selected once and for all as at the date of death because everything that might have happened to the deceased after that date remains uncertain…’

Thus to calculate the future compensation for dependants from the date of death rather than the date of trial (which happens as a matter of routine in life changing injury claims) has the effect of under-compensating the dependants of the deceased.  Why?  This is because the Odgen Tables used to calculate the future awards were designed to calculate the ‘multiplier’ from the date of trial not the date of death.

So if there is a long delay between the date of death and date of trial or settlement this will lead to injustice and under-compensation to the dependents.  This has been a known fact for many years but the Courts have done nothing about it until the decision in Knauer v MOJ 2016.  The mis-use by the Courts of the Ogden Tables was considered in White v ESAB Group (UK) Ltd [2012] and Aths v Ms [2002] EWCA Civ 972 and criticised in Corbett v Braking HA [1991].

Just one good fatal accident decision in many years has taken place where the Supreme Court in the case of Knauer v MOJ 2016 decided to change the law so that the multiplier must run from the date of trial, not the date of death.  This can add thousands of pounds for bereaved families who have been under-compensated and let down the the Government and the Judiciary.

[Author Ronnie Hutcheon – Principal Solicitor in the Firm of R James Hutcheon Solicitors]

But the Courts thought they were bound by the past judgement and thus the law could not be changed without the Government changing the law.

Even the Law Commission Report entitled Claims for Wrongful Death suggested to the Government that the law should be changed (among other issues) so that compensation for fatal accident claims for future awards should be used the same way as lift changing injury claim, that is The Ogden Tables for future awards for compensation should be from the date of trial not the date of death.

Fatal Injury Law Commission Report – [Click to View]

Common sense has played a part here with practical know how of the change in times but lest not forget the injustice to victims in the past whose fatal accident claims have been vastly under compensated by the slow changing pace of the Judiciary and the constant strength and lobbing of Government by insurance companies who  continue to influence the Government.  The losers are the victims.  Help us change the law and sign our Government E-Petition on bereavement awards.

Further reading

Fatal Accident Compensation – Calculate Future Awards (Part 1)

Fatal Accident Compensation – Calculate Future Awards (Part 2)

Fatal Accident Compensation – Calculate Future Awards (Part 3)

There are time limits that apply to make a fatal accident claim so please do not leave it late. If you are reading this website to help a family member or friend who has not yet obtain advice you can contact us to discuss options.  Whatever the circumstances, contact us.

Click on our CONTACT US to call or email us via our Online Form.


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Fatal Accident Compensation – Calculate Future Awards (Part 2)

In Part 1 fatal accident solicitors considered the general complex issues of how calculating future awards for lump sum compensation for a fatal accident or fatal disease can be complex.  Needless to say, once again, as fatal accident solicitors specialising in this area in addition to serious life changing injury claims, the future calculation for compensation leaves the victims, in our view under compensated.

Why?  It is all down to how the large discount is applied to future lump sum compensation awards for a fatal accident or serious life changing injuries.  The discount applied applies on the award of the compensation so as not to ‘over compensate’ the dependents or victim of a life changing injury claim.  Thus to use an similar example, if the dependents or personal injury victim sustaining serious injury claim is valued at say £100,000 over a period of 10 years, if that amount was put into stocks and shares over a period of 10 years, there is a chance that the investment will grow over time and thus the net value would be more than the £100,000.  This is unfair and has been attacked as the returns may not be significant or at all as there is a chance there could be heavy losses.

‘Victims and families whose loved one have been killed in a fatal accident or sustained a serious life changing injury have been under compensated for years…’ 

[Author Ronnie Hutcheon, Principal Solicitor of R James Hutcheon Solicitors]

Fatal Injury Bereavement Award

Thus the dependents compensation for a fatal accident or the victim of a serious life changing injury claim are being under-compensated and have been over many years.  Further the Conservative Government has also since April 2013 not only reduced solicitor costs if they win a compensation claim for fatal accident or injury but now solicitors are forced to take up to 25% of the victim’s compensation award.  Thus to say that the aim of compensation is to put the claimant victim in the same financial position but for the death or accident is a misnomer.

Uee of the Ogden Table To Compensate Fatal Accident Claimants

The Ogden Tables are used by fatal accident solicitor and personal injury solicitor who specialise in life changing injuries where the future awards of compensation have to be considered.  Here we will discuss only fatal accident compensation claims due to the recent important case of Knauer v MOJ by the Supreme Court in 2016 increased compenstion following the unalwful killing of a person in an accident by just using the Ogden Tables in the way they were intended.  Had the Courts used the Tables correctly it would have stopped thousands of bereaved families whose fatal accident compensation claims were settled by their Solicitor or the Courts over many years.

How Solicitors Calculate Future Compensation After Death (Part 1)

Generally it is relatively easy to calculate the compensation awards to dependants of the deceased prior to trial or settlement of the claim.  This is because what has happened in the past can be evaluated with precision.  There is no assumptions or what ifs?

Some complex calculations for fatal accident compensation which arise when the claims comes to be settled can give rise to uncertainty.

Some examples where uncertainly will arise and difficult questions have to be determined by the Courts and the solicitors acting in the compensation claim for a fatal accident:

  • The deceased had recently started his own business (so there is no past record on how well the business would have done).
  • The deceased was only 16 years old so there is little work experience or examination results to establish a clear future career path.
  • The deceased was destined to be a sporting great…but for the fatal accident.

There are many other examples where a future calculation for possible fatal accident compensation awards can give rise to difficult assessments and calculations.  The fatal accident compensation solicitor will have to consider all the evidence and present the best possible case to the Courts.  Once this evidence has been produced the Solicitors dealing with the fatal injury claim will then use what is called ‘The Ogden Tables‘ to consider the future calculation of compensation awarded.

Calculation of Future Fatal Accident Compensation – Ogden Tables

The Ogden Tables are designed not by solicitors as such but by accountants or actuaries who use various data such as age, discounts rates, life tables etc to establish how much a lump sum compensation award for a fatal accident would be worth if the dependent a received all the money ‘today’ at once rather than over a period of years had the deceased lived.  This is important as the dependants of the deceased should not be ‘over-compensated’ and importantly ‘under-compensated.’

So if, say, the dependants of the deceased had a future award of compensation for a fatal accident of a loved one assessed at £100,000 and that amount is the equivalent of say 10 years future award.  If the dependant received £100,000 today rather than over a period of 10 years, the law of compensation (the Defendant insurance company) would be up in arms as the dependants would have been over-compensated.  Why?  Fatal accident solicitors call this ‘accelerated payment’ the dependants have received all the money in advance in one lump sum rather than over the 10 year period.  Therefore that £100,000 could be invested in stock and shares or put in a bank account gaining interest and any investment returns would result in an additional award to the dependants which is prohibited i.e. the dependants have been over-compensated.

Therefore what the courts will do is apply a discount to the compensation so that the dependants are not over-compensated.  Therefore rather than receive £100,000 today, the compensation will be reduced by a complex calculation so that the award may be £95,000 or £90,000 and so on.  The longer the award in years terms into the future, the greater the compensation discount.

The actual scheme and philosophy of making dependants of the deceased who receive compensation for a fatal accident claim has been under attack by many fatal accident solicitors and personal injury practitioners well before the stock-market crash of 2007.  This is because the dependants or the injured victim is forced to invest the compensation in stock and shares or if the dependants or injured victim are more risk adverse, to keep the compensation in a bank account.

However, as all savers are aware, the interest on bank accounts are quite pitiful and in some cases we here are of negative benefit. The compensation award is there for a purpose and should not be put at risk in stocks and shares. Further the discount applied to the future awards are still very high meaning that in real terms the compensation for fatal accident claims and personal injury claims are consistently over many years under valued.  The fault of the to Government once again slow to react help victims but quick to protect insurance companies.

See Also:

Fatal Accident Compensation – Calculate Future Awards (Part 1)

Fatal Accident Compensation – Calculate Future Awards (Part 2)

Fatal Accident Compensation – Calculate Future Awards (Part 3)

Fatal Accidents Claims – Unjust Results

Why The Law Is Unjust

The Fatal Accident Act 1976 main form of legislation that deals with what can be claimed following the tragic death of a loved one.  Most fatal accidents claims we deal with are from road traffic accidents (drivers and passengers) and fatal accidents at work claims.

The law is unjust in a number of ways.  If you read this website you will see many examples of unfair and unjust circumstances that illustrate that the law is bias against bereaved families and in favour of insurance companies.  The legal profession that acts for families who have lost a love one have to deal with the uncaring and outdated law as best as possible.  The only way the law can be changed is by the Government, not the Judges.  The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 is Government made law.  Judge’s cannot change it, they must apply it.

Recent Call – Desperate Advice Over A Fatal Accident

For obviously reasons we are unable to provide the actual facts of the case and names but to illustrate the point of an unjust law, fatal accident solicitors consider it is worth mentioning here.

The father of an adult son called to find out what he can do and how he can be involved in the case against the other driver who killed his son in a fatal road traffic accident.  He was separated from his partner at the time.  They were not on good terms.  The son lived with his mother and he was over 18 years of age.

The mother would not communicate with the father.  She did not want him to pay toward the funeral expenses.  She kept from him details of the coroner and information provided by the police.  He had to find information from other family members.

The mother of the deceased son was making a claim under the Fatal Accident Actd 1976 for compensation for her dead son.  The father did not consider making any claim as no amount of money would compensate but on second thoughts he considered that the driver who killed his son should be made to pay something (albeit via his insurance company).  The other driver will pay something in so far a a loss of liberty and fines for say a charge for death by careless driving or death by dangerous driving etc.

However the fatal injury claim solicitors discussed his compensation entitlement and the loss of live for his son was effectively worth £NOTHING.  The following was considered:

  • Adult Child was killed.  As his son was over 18 years of age, the law says that to a parent the loss of life is worth nothing because he was killed instantly.  Had he lived for a few hours or weeks his parents may be able to obtain a few hundred or a few thousand pounds.  Not a lot.  Really an insult to the parents.
  • As an adult child was killed, the parents do not even receive a pitiful bereavement award of £12,980.  An award to a son or daughter of a parent is only payable if their child is under 18 years of age.  If there are two parents then the award is shared.  The award itself is simply not enough to to compensate for the loss.  We appreciate that no amount of money will never be enough but surely it is worth more than this?  Celebrities are being paid over £200,000 for hurt feelings.  How can £12,980 be justified with these sums to celebrities?
  • The father was not financially dependent upon his son.  That is the son did not pay his father any money for his keep or pay his father anything.  Therefore no claim for dependency on his son can be claimed.
  • His mother paid for the late son’s funeral expenses so the father sustained no loss.  His mother however can reclaim the funeral expenses providing such expenses are deemed reasonable.
  • Thus, the total compensation for the life of his son £NOTHING.
  • His mother, to whom the son was living, may be able to claim a dependency award for a limited period if he was paying for his keep prior to death.  But fatal accident claim solicitors understand that this was not the case as he was not earning any money.
  • Total claim for the loss of their son £NOTHING.  They just were only able to reclaim the cost of the funeral expenses.