Bereavement Award in a Fatal Accident
A bereavement award under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 is a ‘civil personal injury compensation claim’ at court, made following the unlawful death of a person involved in an accident or illness at work due to the fault, in whole, or in part, by another. The most common allegation that a fatal accident claims solicitor will argue against the Defendant will be under the tort law of negligence.
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Definition of a bereavement award under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976:
‘A Bereavement Claim is defined in law under the 1976 Act as;
(1) An action under this Act may consist of or include a claim for damages for bereavement.
(2) A claim for damages for bereavement shall only be for the benefit—(a) of the wife or husband or civil partner of the deceased; and (b) where the deceased was a minor who was never married or a civil partner—
(i) of his parents, if he was legitimate; and
(ii) of his mother, if he was illegitimate.
(3)…the sum to be awarded as damages under this section shall be £12,980.
(4) Where there is a claim for damages under this section for the benefit of both the parents of the deceased, the sum awarded shall be divided equally between them…’
A bereavement award is 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 damages payment is not under the 1976 Act but the conditions of compensation entitlement are similar.
The award may be in addition to other claims for compensation by the “next of kin.” A Fatal accident compensation claim for this type of award is simply to serve as a recognition of grief, a token or public recognition that the death was wrongful or unlawful.
You should use a specialist personal injury solicitor.
Sign our E Petition to Change the Bereavement Award
Stop the injustice and sign up to our e-petition to increase the token bereavement award following the wrongful death of a loved one. One of the richest countries in the world, the UK (or specifically England & Wales) makes the loss of a life following a tragic fatal accident worthless or close to it. It is not right.
The bereavement award, in our respectful view is pitiful. The government has assessed the award over the years for the loss of a close family member, wife, husband, son, daughter in the current sum of £12,980.
We all appreciate that no amount of money can compensate for the loss, but the government appears to suggest (or an excuse due to the pressure from insurance companies) that the death of a loved one is only worth a “token amount.” That is simply not right, it’s unjust and insurance companies are getting away in not paying a “fair” amount for the recognition that the death of a close family member was unlawful.
More examples of an unjust law
Where the death relates to:
- Death of an illegitimate child (under 18 years) the mother is given the bereavement award while the father gets nothing. But as the law stands, even if the father was entitled to an award, both parents would have to share it, thus they would receive £6,490 each for the pain, grief and suffering. Somehow the compensation will mean, to reflect society perhaps, the parents shared suffering means they share the award? There is no logical conclusion other than penny pinching.
- If an adult child, 18 years plus was killed in a road accident, the parents would receive nothing. Yet if the child was 17 years and 364 days old at the time of the accident, the parents would receive the full bereavement compensation. But that, as we have said before is still an insult and the parents would have to share it.
- Death of a parent. For some unknown reason, may be it is from the Victorian era or due to the number of children that could be bereaved, a child receives absolutely nothing for the death of her/his mother or father. Maybe the lawmakers at the time thought that if both parents died in a fatal road accident (it is not as uncommon as you think) it would mean the children would be over-compensated because the insurance company for the person at fault would have to pay two bereavement awards. Therefore, for whatever reason a child losing his/her parent(s) gets absolutely nothing. It is not right.
- Child sustained fatal injuries whilst under 18 but dies when over 18 years – can you believe it, no bereavement award is payable thanks to the case of Dolema v Deakin (1990).
Taking money from the Deceased’ family is Wrong
As fatal accident compensation solicitors we feel this is unjust to take up to 25% of the compensation for grieving families. However whilst we do not like to charge any success fee, due to significant increases in court fees and drastic legal cost cutting we are forced to make a charge which currently stands at 12.5% (half what most other solicitors will charge) plus vat. Of course we offer a No Win No Fee Solicitor service so the family are fully protected. It can be costly to go to another firm of solicitors.
Fatal Accident Compensation Claims and Bereavement Awards
Please feel free to contact our specialist fatal accident solicitors for guidance and advice. We will be pleased to help you even if it is just a query rather than making a fatal accident claim.
Our details can be found on our contact us page.