Fatal accidents


A fatal accident is a traumatic and devastating event for the family and loved ones of the victim. It can also cause considerable financial hardship for a family if they were dependent on the deceased’s income.

Who can make a claim?

Fatal accident claims are made by family members or relatives in the event of death. They are unusual in that most personal injury claims are made by the injured person, though this is clearly not possible in the case of fatal accident claims.

Fatal accident claims tend to be of high value and can be made in relation to any type of personal injury claim, including:

  • Road-traffic accidents
  • Accidents occurring in the workplace
  • Clinical negligence claims

As with other personal injury claims, your solicitor will first consider the issue of liability before considering the amount of compensation you might receive. Your solicitor will assist in gathering evidence to make the claim and submitting the relevant forms to the relevant court.

Most claims are heard in the county court, but claims of high value (over £50,000) with a high degree of complexity may be heard in the High Court.

How is the compensation calculated?

Damages for fatal accident claims are worked out in a slightly different manner to that of other personal injury claims. The damages awarded will be for:

  • The pain and suffering up until the date of death
  • For financial losses the claimant has accrued between the date of injury and the date of death
  • Any funeral expenses

Next there is a statutory aspect to the claim under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 which allows for money to be awarded to dependants of the deceased replacing the dependant’s earnings. In addition to these amounts of the claim, a statutory sum of £11,800 is payable to the spouse of a deceased person or the parents of a deceased minor.

Unmarried couples in a long term relationship that have lived together continuously for more than 2 years prior to the date of death are essentially treated the same as married partners and can claim. Equally, partners in a Civil Partnership or any individual that has a financial dependency on the deceased may be able to claim compensation too, including grandchildren.

If you are concerned about the circumstances of the death of a loved one and would like to make a claim for compensation then you should consider seeing a solicitor who has specialist knowledge and experience as soon as possible. It can also help to have a solicitor to assist you in obtaining any paperwork related to the deceased’s death and assessing the merits of any claim you wish to make.

If you are dealing with a car accident in particular, see our information page on fatal car accidents.

Are you dealing with the consequences of a fatal accident? Contact Law can put you in touch with a personal injury lawyer to help you gain a financial award to help you with the costs you are dealing with, including the funeral arrangements. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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