Category Archives: Solicitors
Sepsis in Fatal Accident Claims
In our earlier blog on fatal accident claims following contracting sepsis we discussed a query our fatal accident solicitors had considered regarding liability of one or more of the following:
- dog owner – failure to control his dog causing death
- employer – fatal accident at work
- medical negligence – fatal injury – failing to spot sepsis
Who is liable?
It will be recalled that in this fatal accident claims the deceased was employed as a carer who went to patients own homes to look after them. The employer knew that the person being cared for had a dog that was prone to bite and failed to warn the employee (who had not attended the premises before) and failed to put in place sufficient warnings and safeguards to protect its employee.
The carer, unfortunately was bitten by the dog and he contracted sepsis and shortly afterwards died of the infection.
As the dog owner had not assets, money or insurance cover, he was not worth taking any legal action for a fatal accident compensation claim. Fatal accident solicitor will have to consider taking action against the employer and or sue the NHS for medical negligence for failing to spot the signs of sepsis.
Treat Sepsis Patients Within The Hour
In a recent article it is now noted by the health secretary that sepsis patients should be treated within the hour. Jeremy Hunt as gone on record saying:
“Every death from sepsis is a tragedy, yet too often warning signs are missed..’
The most typical of warning signs are:
- high heart rate
- signs of a rash
Fatal Accident Claims Advice
Please contact us if you require any advice or assistance following the loss of a loved one due to a fatal accident claim. We are here to help you every step of the way. As fatal accident solicitors we will sympathetically handle your case, discussing your options and advising you through the complex legal paper-work and procedures.
Fatal Accidents and Motor Insurance Bureau
In this blog we would like to refer you to our link page fatal car accidents and motor insurance bureau for general information for bereaved families who need some guidance on taking action against the driver who killed a family member in a fatal road traffic accident.
Legal Proceedings v Motor Insurance Bureau – Fatal Accident Claims
One a relevant bereaved family member instructs a fatal car accident claims solicitor proceedings will be taken against the driver said to have caused the fault. Now if that driver is uninsured or untraced a case may be made out against the Motor Insurance Bureau or (MIB).
The MIB will effectively run the case and if the offending driver is at fault will make an award of compensation.
Practical Steps to Issue Proceedings v MIB
There are special rules for fatal accident solicitors to take action where the MIB is involved. Failure to adhere to the rules (Uninsured Drivers Agreement) for instance will mean that a perfectly good claim for fatal accident compensation will have to be rejected. The main points a fatal accident claim solicitor will have to bear in mind is:
- MIB claim form, must be completed and submitted to the MIB as soon as possible.
- Upon issue of proceedings relevant notice in accordance with the Uninsured Drivers Agreement but be given to the MIB (Clause 9).
- Once the court has issued proceedings (the fatal accident solicitor must inform the court NOT TO SERVE UPON THE MIB/DEFENDANT) as the solicitor must then notify that the claim form has been issued within 14 days. The court may fail to inform the Claimant fatal accident solicitors that the claim form was issued in time which may result a failure to provide proper notice.
- Upon issue of the claim form the fatal accident solicitor must then serve this upon the MIB and defendant driver (if traced but uninsured) together with other relevant documents which will include the particulars of claim, medical evidence and a schedule of loss. Further all relent correspondence with the defendant and any relevant insurance certificates – Clause 10.
- When the fatal accident claim solicitors serve all of the relevant documents it is good practice that notice is provided at the same time that if there is no defence served within 35 days of service, the Claimant reserves the right to enter judgement.
Failure to Comply Will Result in the Fatal Car Accident Claim Being Struck Out
A failure of the fatal accident claim solicitors to comply with the strict time limits set out in the Motor Insurance Bureau Uninsured Drivers Agreement can result in them rejecting a perfectly valid claim. Even if the procedural aspects are complied with when proceedings have been issued and serve, if the fatal car accident solicitor failed to give notice within the 35 day period to enter judgement, again the MIB may reject the fatal car accident claim.
A surprising finding in November 2016 has revealed that thousands of car users may be driving a vehicle that is unfit and dangerous on the road which may result in serious – life changing injuries or fatal road accident claims.
‘FOUR OUT OF 10 CARS HAVE AT LEAST ONE DANGEROUSLY UNDER-INFLATED TYRE”
This is due to under-inflated tyre pressures which may not revealed on the vehicles’ warning system to alert the driver of low and dangerous tyre pressures.
Vehicles In Laboratories Past The Tyre Pressures Tests
Whilst the computer tyre pressure systems passed the tests in laboratories on the road this appeared to be different. A VW Golf failed to detect under-inflated tyres in 14 out of 16 real-world tests.
A Fiat 500L was reported to fail all 16 tests according to research by an Independent Company commissioned by the campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E).
Legal Requirement for Tyre Pressure Systems in Vehicles
All cars since 2014 have to be fitted with tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) that pass official approved tests. There are mainly two systems that are in use, where one TPMS will actively monitor each tyre where as others will, detect pressure changes by comparing the wheels rotational speed. The latter are called indirect systems that are slightly cheaper than the former.
However T&E advise that the indirect TPMs systems may be unsafe and can lull the driver into a false sense of security. No driver warning light on the dash board may about tyre pressures can lead the driver to think everything is okay with the tyres and not bother to do a least a visual inspection.
In a BBC Radio 5 programme which obtained a Freedom of Information Request to the Driver and Licensing Vehicle Agency DVLA, it reported that 600 people have been caught driving whilst distracted behind the wheel three times.
One driver apparently was caught 5 times.
These endorsements by the police to drivers distracted are called CU80 endorsements. These type of endorsements are defined as follows:
|CU80||Breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle, mobile telephone etc||3|
The penalty carries with it 3 points on a motorist licence. But in reality it is little deterrent to the daily use of mobile phones at the wheel which we see on our UK roads.
But Causing Death By Dangerous Driving Using Mobile Phone?
Whilst some drivers will get caught and charged with driving a motor vehicle whilst using a mobile phone the only punishment will be 3 points and a fine. But think about what may or could happen if that momentary lapse of concentration did kill someone on the road. A charge for causing death by dangerous driving can be made.
The charge of;
CU80 – Breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle, mobile telephone etc
Could leads to something much worse:
DD80 – Causing death by dangerous driving- mobile telephone etc
CD80 – Causing death by careless, or inconsiderate, driving – mobile phone usage
Endorsements and Offences
The information below is taken from the GOV.UK website which sets out the motoring penalty points for various charges in addition to the serious offences listed above.
Causing Death by Dangerous Driving – Mobile phone use
|DD10||Causing serious injury by dangerous driving||3 to 11|
|DD40||Dangerous driving||3 to 11|
|DD60||Manslaughter or culpable homicide while driving a vehicle||3 to 11|
|DD80||Causing death by dangerous driving||3 to 11|
|DD90||Furious driving||3 to 9|
Causing death by Careless Driving
|CD80||Causing death by careless, or inconsiderate, driving||3 to 11|
|CD90||Causing death by driving: unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers||3 to 11|
Family Advice Legal Help Line
If you or someone you know has lost a loved one due to a road traffic accident or they have been seriously injured in a non-fatal road accident we are here to help you every step of the way.
Even if you are a concerned friend of the family affected, we understand that sometimes those most affected find it difficult to speak to a solicitor. But from our experience the sooner they obtain advice the more we can help them deal with the paper work, the legal complexities that have to be dealt with and obtaining compensation to help with paying the bills.
As specialist fatal accident solicitors we take the worry about speaking to a qualified solicitor if you wish to seek advice or simply wish to have a chat with a solicitor. We provide a No Win, No Fee, Solicitor service for fatal accident claims.
No Win No Fee Solicitors – How Does It Work?
In simple terms if the fatal accident compensation claim is lost which can be by obtaining unfavorable advice when the fatal accident solicitor is investigating the claim or lost at a Court Hearing the general rule is that the losing party has to pay the winning parties costs. However those costs are now qualified since April 2013 as in a fatal injury claim the losing party does not have to pay the legal costs of the action save for expenses in running the case. For a detail look on what this means see qualified one way costs shifting link.
However to save time and worry in having to read the above link and understand this, the simple way to protect yourself is to obtain legal insurance. We can obtain the insurance on your behalf and you only pay for the insurance if you win the case so it is genuinely worry free.
So by obtaining insurance through fatal accident solicitors you protect yourself against any legal costs if the claim for compensation is lost.
What Does it Cost If I Win?
In the event of winning compensation for a fatal accident claim the you win pay the following:
- Success fee of between 0% to 25% of qualifying compensation
- Legal expense insurance (if one is obtained) – remember you don’t pay this if you lose.
The balance of the compensation will be paid to you.
As fatal accident claim solicitors we are often approached by family members and friends of the family who have lost a loved one for guidance and advice.
Often fatal accident compensation is often secondary to finding out the truth of what happened to the deceased and to obtain justice.
Fatal accident solicitors can help with the investigations by the Police by liaising with them and the Coroner in respect of the Inquest that is often held following an untimely death.
Compensation for Fatal Accident Claim
There are many different types of losses that a qualifying member of the deceased can claim such as:
- Compensation for the fatal injuries
- funeral expenses
- dependency claims
- bereavement award for a fatal accident
- losses and expenses
If a person dies as a result of a violent act, then a claim can be made through the Criminal Injuries Scheme of which please click on this link: Criminal Injuries and Bereavement Award.
This website offers a wealth of information and pointers to help family members and concerned friends but you should contact us for advice with one of our fatal accident solicitors to make a claim or simply to obtain some advice and support.
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.
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.
This question is often asked by family members who have lost a loved one. Usually common sense plays a part as to who can claim compensation following a fatal accident. The person is usually the next of kin, who is the wife or husband (or surviving partner in a same sex marriage) of the deceased. That obviously makes sense.
But who can make a claim will also be dependent upon whether the deceased left a will and that the person who is legally entitled to claim was also dependent upon the deceased at the time of death.
This can lead to unjust consequences not only as to who is entitled but also if the family member who wishes to make a claim for fatal accident compensation is also dependent upon the deceased in any way, that could be financial as well as non-financial such as being cared for by the deceased before death.
Non-married partners can also claim however. This is sanctioned in the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, providing that the couple were living together as ‘husband and wife’ for a period of at least 2 years prior to the death of the other partner.
The harshness of this rule is brought into focus by the recent decision of Swift v Secretary of State. In this case, an unmarried couple where the wife had gave birth to the deceased’s child just weeks after his death were unable to bring a fatal accident compensation claim due to the fact that they had only been living together for just 6 months prior to the tragic accident.
The Deceased was unlawfully killed at work due to an accident to which his employers admitted fault. However the fatal accident claim valued in the region of over £400,000 could not be made due to the fact that they did not live together for 2 years prior to death despite the fact that the his partner was pregnant and having his child.
Fatal accident solicitors challenged the unfair law under the Human Rights Act but despite the Judge expressing sympathy for the surviving partner, with the inevitable unjust law that had to be applied to this particular tragic circumstance, there was nothing with the Judge’s power to change the law and grant any fatal accident compensation at work.
The fatal accident claim was therefore dismissed.
The law is totally unjust in this area and outdated like many of the laws following the untimely death of a loved one due to the fault of another. It is time the law is updated and changes to avoid the tragic consequences that follow.
My Unmarried Partner Dies – But Still Married, Can I Claim?
This can be a heartbreaking situation following a fatal accident claim. Where a couple are not married but are living together there is no automatic right for the surviving partner to bring an action for the unlawful death following a fatal accident. This is governed by the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 which states that if there are co-habities, then the survivor can only claim as a dependant of the loss of their loved one if they were living together as ‘husband and wife’ for a period of 2 years immediately prior to death. The law has subsequently been updated to included same sex co-habities.
The law was challenged under Section 4 of the Human Rights Act 1988 in a case called in a case called Swift v Secretary of State 2013 to overturn the offending section 1(3)(b) of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (as amended) as incompatible and thus should be overturned.
Fatal Accidents Act 1976
Under the Fatal Accidents Act, 1976, only 3 groups of people are entitled to make a fatal accident compensation claim following the death of an individual. They are:
- dependants of the deceased,
- close relatives of the deceased,
- deceased’s estate.
Dependency claims are usually ‘financial dependents’ of the deceased under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, husbands, wives or civil partners, parents or ascendants, children or other descendants and brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles.
But for co-habitees, the law has been strictly applied and the Human Rights Act does not help. In the above case of Ms Swift she had been living with her partner for just 6 months prior to his untimely death where he was fatally injured at work. She was pregnant at the time of death. Despite the fact she was having his child she could not be classed as a dependent of her partner because she did not live with him for a period of 2 years prior to death as ‘husband and wife.’ Her appeal was dismissed and as said before even the Human Right Act would not help her. The same will apply to a Civil Partnership.
What if the Deceased Co-Habitee Was Also Married?
In this was the case, the estranged wife will also be able to claim as a dependent and also claim a bereavement award as she will come under list of limited people who can claim.
However if the Co-habitee had been living with his or her partner for more than 2 years prior to death as ‘husband and wife’ then the co-habitiee may also claim for a dependency award along side the ‘married partner.’ This is because there can be more than one dependant who can claim at the same time.
So if there are also children to the relationship of the deceased, each child may also be able to claim for a dependency award in addition to the partner(s) of the deceased.
If there is a conflict between dependents as to who can claim for a death following an accident they dependents may require separate legal advice from specialist fatal accident claim solicitors.