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Compensation claims following a fatal accident

Losing a loved one at any time can be a highly traumatic event, even more so should that person have suffered a fatal accident, especially if it was someone else’s fault. Whilst financial compensation is not going to be a priority in the immediate aftermath of a fatal accident, making a claim for compensation can make a big difference in helping with a range of financial pressures.

What the law says

The Fatal Accident Act 1976 states that dependants of the deceased can make a compensation claim as long as the accident was a result of somebody else’s negligence or mistake. The legal definition of a dependant includes:

• A spouse (or ex-spouse)
• Biological children and other descendants including children through marriage or civil partnership, and adopted children.
• Siblings, uncles and aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews
• Parents or other ascendants including grandparents, great grandparents and those who the deceased had treated as a parent.
• Someone co-habiting with the deceased, as husband or wife or as a civil partner, for at least two years prior to the death.

Examples of what can be claimed for

The actual levels of compensation will vary depending on the specific circumstances of each claim, but overall, claims can be made for:

• Actual financial losses – compensation to cover actual expenditures incurred in caring for the injured person as well as administrative expenses involved in dealing with their demise or their estate. Also includes costs incurred such as ongoing medical and nursing care, hospital expenses, medicines and medical aids, housing adaptations and travelling costs and funeral expenses.
• Pain, suffering and loss of amenity of the deceased – If death was following a disease, or if the deceased was bed-ridden because of medical negligence, this claim will be compensation for the pain and suffering of the deceased during their lifetime.
• Loss of earnings – In case the death was not immediate, loss of earnings during the time the deceased was alive but unable to work.
• Loss of services – compensation for the loss of services that the deceased provided such as childcare, housework, gardening, etc. Also, if the deceased was caring for another family member, the cost of hiring a replacement carer can be included.
• Losses for dependency – this applies if the deceased is survived by dependents who depended on their income - for example a spouse, children or elderly parents. Ths is often the largest financial part of a claim, and amounts due will vary based on the deceseased’s income, including bonuses, pension provision and other workplace benefits such as healthcare and company car usage.

There is also a separate,fixed amount of £12,980 that may be available via a Statutory Award for Bereavement. This is only payable to the spouse of the deceased or the parents of a deceased minor.

How soon should you make a claim?

Fatal accident claims are subject to a 3 year limitation, starting from the date of death or from the date the death was linked to the accident or exposure. If the deceased was already making a claim when they died, this 3 year limitation deadline starts again from the date of their death, allowing the deceased’s family to continue with the claim.

If you would like advice following a fatal accident, contact us today to see what you may be entitled to claim for. We offer a no-win, no-fee service.  Call us on 0800 160 1296, or contact us online by completing our enquiry form here.

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